Everything sound & ear training related


How do you guys finish songs? I can't seem to get to mastering a song. Too much of a perfectionist that for me it's a never-ending cycle of editing.
Thats the key. You've got to learn to finish music and be okay with the fact that some of your tracks will not turn out as good as you hoped them to be.

Finishing music is a skill on itself.

I feel your pain man. And i still struggle with it to this day too from time to time. But it always feels good in the end to actually have a finished piece of music, even if it didn't turn out that great.

When i listen to it a couple of months later i'm happy that i finished it and i'm actually able to enjoy it way better than when i initially finished it.
@Max van Veghel I completely agree.

It's painfull to finish a song and find it not perfect.
But when you create again and again, mix again and again and rewatch fews months/years later you see the road and the progress and you try to do better the next time :)
Almog Pines
Mar 29
At some point you commit to what you have. Then you can add finishing touches. It seems like mastering really has multiple definitions but I just see it as any final touches, whether it's to fix an issue or something artistic, and making the song sound great through multiple systems. Also, I see mastering as unifying songs or at least creating a specific contrast within an album
I have exactly the same troubles as you with finishing songs. I am doing live shows, but when people wants to hear music on platforms, I cant even send them links because I never released any song (except my shitty soundcloud with draft songs), because of perfectionism.
I recently made quite a lot of researches on the topic that I can share with you :

- Perfectionism often comes from fear of judgement while releasing your songs. The only way to get rid of that fear is to get used to releasing songs.

- Have some deadlines : for exemple, anounce publicly that you'll release a new song on a certain date. Then your brain and body will for sure find a way to finish this song, because there's no other option.

- I listened to this audiobook wich is completly dedicated to this topic (finishing songs). Very good investment :

Other comments below are also accurate, finishing and releasing songs is a skill by itself. Good luck dude, a not so perfect song is 1000% better than a perfect unreleased song. Some people outside would need our music, we have to release it for them 😊
j m
Mar 29
Deadlines. Set them for yourself if you have to. Whatever you have when the dealine is over is your final result. Writing music for other people/competetions will help with this too.
Joe Peall
Mar 29
All good advice I would say. I like to remind myself that 'Perfect is the enemy of done'

One way I get round the issue: Once I'm at the stage where it *miiiight* be nearly done. Listen through with my back to the DAW and write any parts that stick out. Make those edits and nothing else, then leave it for a bit. Do the same on a few devices and speakers/headphones. After 3 goes round this cycle, call it a day and put the finished song out there!
Yeah... SUPER common issue! Comments definitely prove that haha! I think everyone has great suggestions and insights.

What I can add that hasn't been mentioned is try to just write some throwaway tracks. They might turn out, but they might not. I.E. maybe take a short break from your main track, and just try to write something random and finish it in 2 days (not unreasonable, it's actually a regular deadline for writing original music in advertising - usually between 15sec to 90sec averaging at 30/60sec track lengths). You perhaps don't have to do full 3min tracks or whatnot, you could try just doing a verse-chorus type thing - 30-60sec. I think if you do this, it kinda helps solidify that circuit of finishing tracks and helps close that dopamine loop, but you get to do it with stuff you're not so precious about. If you're releasing a personal album/track, and if you haven't released much up to date, it's natural to be SUPER picky and slow with it - because those few tracks represent ALL of you. And it CAN definitely be super useful to place a deadline on this, but it can also be really hard, because you may still want it to be better than it is and not want to release it on the deadline, despite having set the deadline - because it's really personal and has a ton of weight on it.

That's why I think just doing something that you're less invested in on the side can help. Maybe try to write a random track a week, or 2 a week for a bit. Get like 10 done, without caring THAT much how they turn out. Practice getting it done on deadline. Finish them all regardless of how great they are, then you may actually really like some of them, and feel more confident and motivated. If you find a gem in there, then perhaps shelf that one for more development/work. But just write a bunch of whatever tracks. Maybe even try to do your own quick versions of tracks you like by other artists (not necessarily copy, but inspired by). Imagine you just got a call as a job and have to get it sent in by the end of the week, or in a couple days (this is what my actual work is like).

I'm sure this will help once you get back to your main tracks. One effect this has too, is when you listen back to your tracks that you did as throwaways, a little time later, you learn they're actually not as bad as you may think they were initially. When we are editing/mixing - our brains go into HYPER detail focused mode, and we focus on ALL that's WRONG with the track. That's what we have to do in order to fix those mistakes - and it's useful in the moment - but it doesn't feel very good. Then when we're in that state, we bias ourselves towards primarily hearing everything that's bad. It's kinda like if someone looks for all that's wrong in a situation, or any potential threat, they may always be on edge and unhappy. And we don't think the track is any good because we are attuned to only the mistakes and imperfections - and we are hyper aware of every tiny detail (plus we're likely bored of the track and used to it).

Once you take a break and let yourself come back with fresh ears and aren't in that flaw-focused editor/mixing mindstate, you'll probably realize the tracks are really not that bad at all.

You could even try to share them with some people, with the caveat that they were just random and for fun, and you may be surprised that people think they're much better than you thought - and might not even hear what's wrong with them that you're hearing. This community may be more nitpicky (; haha - cause that's what everyone's hyper focused on here, but your average listener may not notice things the same way that you do while you're mixing or this SoundGym community that is also hyper focused on mixing and hearing all the details.

It is a challenge though!

I can write and produce fully finished songs in a day (though it's a little hectic ) from start to finish when it's on deadline... but when it's for myself, tracks can take me YEARS sometimes... I'm currently mixing a personal album I've written, and I'm in month 2 of mixing right now (and writing/arranging these tracks has also taken me months)... which is incredibly frustrating since I know I can finish songs in a day lol. But I want these to be as good as they can be - especially BECAUSE I've spent so much time on them already... to skip the same amount of effort on the last step would feel wrong. The lack of progress does get demotivating, but that's why having a different outlet where you can get a quick dopamine hit from finishing something is actually really good for overall self-esteem and keeping things balanced (/keeping your perfectionism a little reigned in - giving it a reality check). Try writing some random stuff that you're not super invested in. That should help with the overall confidence and reinforce that loop of finishing stuff (:

Give you a deadline as if you were working for somebody else. and just try to accept the result you gotta no control of everything. Just accept you record or mix or master as it is and as you were able to do.