Of all the interesting quirks I see in musicians, one of the more frequent is people having no confidence in their own music. You might have seen this too, someone posts their track for others to offer feedback on, and then they proceed to point out everything wrong with it and why they don’t like it. Before anyone even had a chance to listen with a fresh mind and decide for themselves, the producer has already skewed their opinion negatively.
Another common example I see in my mastering business is people coming to me and saying things like “I know this isn’t as good as what you usually work on, but could you still master this?”. The surprising thing is that usually these are very good songs too, not nearly as bad as the producer thought!
I think as artists we all have insecurities in what we produce. Will other people get it? Does my lack of experience show? Will it sound good on other playback systems? Of course, just saying be more confident doesn’t work, things aren’t that easy for some people.
I’m lucky in that I also get to work with a lot of musicians who DO have confidence in their music. And I think it’s important to state that I believe there’s a huge difference between confidence and being cocky. I see that too 🙂
One of the things I’ve found that separates the confident producers, is that no matter their skill level, they are aware of how long it takes to truly become a talented musician or producer. They know they are just at one point on that path, and that they still have a lot to learn. Doesn’t matter if they’ve been writing music for one year or twenty years, they know that they are putting their best effort forward all the time.
To me, it seems that confidence for them comes not just from having achieved some success, but being realistic about their skills at any time too. When you know you have an endless journey ahead of you, and take that desperate rush out of the equation, you become more accepting of what you feel your current limitations are.
You can more freely seek help from others and be open to their suggestions. It’s no longer an affront to your belief in your skills if someone offers a critique of your work, because you understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. It allows you to remember the positive things you can do, while recognizing the areas you have to focus on next.
The next time you find yourself feeling uncertain about your own music, don’t project that to others. Remember we all have certain things that come easier to us, and that everyone progresses at a different rate. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to push and drive yourself to succeed, but temper that with the realization that this is a LONG process. As long as you are always striving to better your music making, you can be confident than you’re doing the best you can.
Take some pride in how far you’ve come already, and have the confidence to know that your music is just as valid as everyone else’s!