Find Your Team: How a Great Mixing Engineer Can Perfect Your Vision
Making good music is a process that involves multiple steps and multiple people. It starts, of course, with good music. But that’s not the only part to it. Good music is the foundation, but then there is the recording, mixing, and mastering process to ensure it’s perfected and ready to hit the market.
Alessandro Costa is a professional mixing engineer base in Berlin, Germany. He joined us for a conversation on the Home Studio Musician podcast to learn more about his work and his advice for anyone who wants to create music on their own.
Alessandro was first exposed to working in a recording studio was as a teenager in Milan, Italy. He fell in love with creating music and learned how to DJ in his spare time. While creating music, Alessandro became obsessed with the technical side of things, always asking “How can this sound better?”
Alessandro then pursued higher education, first in the Netherlands and then in Germany where he received a degree in audio production and sound engineering. He had ample time to work in the studio and obsessed over all the details.
And while his education was useful, Alessandro emphasized how important it is to build connections and grow your own experience and skills. He worked hard to find clients, build his portfolio, and get his name out there.
The Role of Mixing Engineers in Music Production
Alessandro pointed to the stereotype many people have of the traveling musician, just living on music and passion. And while that can be true, making music is hard! It takes time, effort, money, and patience to create something valuable.
When you pay a professional mixing engineer for their services, you’re not just paying for the project. You’re also paying for their knowledge, expertise, and all the times they’ve failed and learned from it.
So, part of being a mixing engineer is just that—failing and then learning. But there are also two other definitions that are useful to understand.
· Practical Definition: Mixing engineers polish everything from start to finish. They take a recording, clean each sound, and make it blend seamlessly.
· Philosophical Definition: Mixing engineers consolidate the vision of the musician. They transform the goal of the song into a reality through technical precision—if the goal is to make someone dance, that’s where the focus is!
Mixing engineers are a bit like a musician. They take a recording and add that “little something more” to it to capture the emotions, essence, and purpose of the music.
Tips for Musicians & Songwriters
Alessandro’s passion for music and mixing comes through in how he speaks. And that’s one of the most essential ingredients to make good music—passion! But on top of love for the craft, musicians also need a few things:
· Knowledge and skill: This can come through self-taught learning, formal education, and practice. You need to continually practice your craft and learn everything you can.
· A trustworthy team: Connect with others in the industry and rely on their expertise. Alessandro has a team of composers, musicians, and singers that he works with—he trusts them, knows their skills, and they can bring out the best in each other.
· Vision: A good mixing engineer will work to understand the vision of the musician and translate the recording into that vision.
At the end of the day, good music doesn’t just happen. Music production is a process and takes a team of hardworking people who have perfected their craft. The role of a mixing engineers is to take the vision, goals, and emotion of a piece of music and bring it to the next level.
And because of technology we can, luckily, build remote teams to collaborate and make great music! So, as you move forward in your musical journey, ask: Who’s on my team?
If you want to hear more from Alessandro, make sure to check out the full interview with him!
Special thanks to @alyssa_wien for her professional writing assistance. Hire her at fiverr.com.