The Power of Batching

An exercise in batching. Henry Ford would be proud.

Keegan Leary
Keegan Leary

This week I published 3 guitar songs to my (new) music-only YouTube channel (separating it from my other content).  The cool thing about it was that I sat down and recorded all three of them in one session.  Usually, I barely manage to get one track recorded.  I either don't have other material ready or I get too excited that I actually nail a recording that I want to see it in edit right away to see what I messed up.

Here are some strategies that helped me execute:

  1. Set aside time.  I tried to treat this session like I was booking time at a recording studio.  I imagine when you are paying for time, there's more of an urgency to create and lay down some sound.  I wanted to force myself to feel that urgency.  Timeboxing is the right concept here, despite how much I've bashed it as not being useful for me.
  2. Have a plan.  I finished recording Rambling Man on my first or second go, which made me feel like I had a whole lot of white space.  Usually it takes me A LOT of takes (3+ hours) to get a song to where I feel comfortable putting it on the internet.  Luckily, I had practiced enough to where Rambling Man felt ready and it was an easy take.
  3. Simplify.  All the songs I recorded were pretty much "cowboy chord" songs.  they don't feel as interesting or polished as Cat's in the Cradle or Wild World, but there's three of them in one session!  Since my goal is to busk on the street one day, I think it's fair to say that I'll need some "filler" songs so that I can have a nice mix of easy and hard.  I was more hesitant to post these songs than some of my previous song, but I swallowed my pride and pressed the submit button.  My advice to simplify could probably also be stated - "set the bar a little low" 😂.

Some places to improve:

  1. Build some Lightroom presets for my thumbnail style.  If you look at the channel, you can see the colors are a bit all over the place as I played with the green/blue wall color from my recording space.  If I lock down a look that I like it will make the obverall vibe more coherent and also speed up my workflow.
  2. Compression and audio mixing.  My guitar instructor said I need to add more compression to the guitar (guitar is too loud).  Since my first recording, I've gotten less scared to use my big honker microphone (Rode NT1) and also to record directly in Logic Pro X.  But I'm still intimidated by all the dials there.  Right now I just throw on "Warm vocal" preset and "Acoustic stereo" for guitar.  It's working but I'm sure I could benefit from a bit more exploration into the tools offered by Logic.
  3. Just be better at music.  There's so far to go when it comes to my singing and guitar playing.  Just got to keep plugging away at it.  Remember, it's a game of years, like everything else 😭.  Hard work = secret sauce.

I'm seeing a lot of value from pushing myself to record and publish.  It's definitely accelerating my learning so I think at this point in my journey it's OK to push quantity over quality.  It can be difficult to get comfortable with putting this stuff out for sure though.  I'm trying to view my low subscriber and view count not as disapproval or disinterest but as a sigh of relief.  Like "OK I can do my thing over here and nobody really cares."  I'm not trying to be discovered or famous, I'm trying to improve myself.  Hopefully I'm not completely oblivious and in an emperor's new clothes sort of situation.  Who knows?  Would you tell me?  Regardless, I definitely respect astists and creators more than I did before.  It's tough work!

Not too much else going on.  I'm trying to spend some time learning how the buttons on this Sony A7C camera work in preparation for my PCT trip where I want to record some of the adventure.  I'm still running and quietly topped 50 miles last week and have been feeling good on my long slow distance runs again.  I had a lot of gear failures on my quick one-night camping trip with dad and have been spending some time sorting out those to get my kit all dialed in for May 19!

That's it.  Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.  I roasted a lamb and it was delicious.

🍻 Keegan

Keegan Leary

I'm the dude the website is about.