Awesome Technology Can Help and Hurt Your Music

Whether you make folk music or EDM, technology has become an integral part of your daily life as a musician. From DAWs and sophisticated recording devices to smartphones and computers that are constantly present in writing, it is practically impossible to separate Technology during the music creation process today.

Technology brings musicians both huge advantages and harmful disadvantages. If you rely too much on technology in your creative process, you risk being overwhelmed and uninspired. However, to completely move away from it is to miss the possibilities of experimentation and musical development.

How relying too much on technology is hurting your music

Technology facilitates countless aspects of songwriting, recording and music production, and there is no debate about it. But here’s the caveat. Our music is not necessarily better when we rely too much on Technology; in fact, an excessive love of technology can suck the intrigue and humanity directly from our songs.

Take for example the MIDI quantization function. With the push of a button, the technology instantly reduces rhythm and pitch errors in your MIDI tracks. Perfect, that’s what we’re looking for in music, isn’t it? Well, not really. Bots may like perfectly symmetrical notes, but your audience may not like them. Your ability to be human and take care of your music is crucial, and technology can often hinder your musical authenticity.

Sometimes technology obscures our music and sometimes it overwhelms us with decisions. Whenever you are working in your DAW, there are practically endless sound and production options to consider. But instead of trying new things, we often stick to the few instruments and effects that we like.

And then there is the omnipresent temptation to rethink, produce and disinfect our music thanks to technology. We hear pitchy vocals, loose drums and scratchy acoustic guitar tracks, and we think these are problems that need to be solved. The truth is that a large part of what we perceive as flaws in our music are precisely the things that keep our work honest and committed. Everything from Auto-Tune Plugins to the habit of modifying every flaw in your tracks has the potential to remove the most interesting and attractive aspects of your songs.

How Technology can help your music

Technology can make your songs boring and overwhelm them. Does this mean that you never need to use tools such as quantization or Autotune? Absolutely not. It’s not about all or nothing. Instead, it’s about figuring out where the Technology fits into your process and making your songs positive. It’s a delicate balance that you won’t find without a lot of trial and error.

Maybe some of your MIDI synthesizer lines should be raw and loose, but others seem better quantified. Or maybe you can work on some of the squeaks on your acoustic guitar tracks without completely cleaning them up. Take a deep dive into the creative and production process to see how the Technology best fits the overall vision and aesthetics of your work. If you do, you will find that it plays a more important role in some of your songs than in others. You will learn that technology makes some aspects of your songs great and counteracts others. This process is essential to find a balance and get the most out of Technology.

And we cannot ignore the importance of technology for musical experiences. Effects plugins, guitar pedals, customizable synthesizers and drum machines are methods to create new and exciting music. If you move away from these creative methods, you are not found out on valuable opportunities to expand your musical connection.

Like so many other aspects of music, your best approach to Technology should be intentional and balanced. Always ask “what serves this song best” instead of committing to a broader approach that will shape all your music. We experiment with instruments to make music, but the experimentation should extend to the way we record and produce our songs with Technology. So, mix up the settings of this strange new plugin and try to filter your voice through your distortion pedal. Think of Technology as a different method of creating and designing your work, and you can adopt it without worrying about its disadvantages. Let your taste and Intuition guide you, and your music will be improved by Technology, not discouraged.

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