MIXING AND UNDERSTANDING
UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS OF THE CLIENT
It is important to understand the purpose of what you are working on. If you are developing music for elevators and dentist offices you will use a different approach than if you were making a movie soundtrack, TV commercial or pumping dance music. There may be different approaches necessary if you intend to tell a story, sell a product, or make “art”.
UNDERSTANDING THE MUSIC / CULTURE
You must understand the culture behind any music you are going to work on. If it is a foreign culture to you, it is important to learn as much about that culture as you can (even better yet, spend some time in it). It is impossible to properly mix music without understanding how the music is supposed to FEEL. Barry Manilow cannot mix Rap music unless he starts to listen to it.
UNDERSTANDING INSTRUMENT FUNCTIONS
It is important to understand both typical instrument functions and also alternative ways that instruments can be used. For example, although typically a bass will both provide a harmonic foundation for the song (usually playing the lower root notes of chords) and also a counter-melody with the vocal melody, sometimes a bass may fill a different role. The bass player may play a solo in a middle section. When mixing, you will need to apply a sound that will fit for any and all of the functions of an instrument in any particular song.
The KICK drum will often push the beat of the song, sharing low end frequencies with the BASS. The SNARE will often drive the beat and the feel of the song. The VOCAL will often need to be clear and loud enough to easily heard, but can made louder and softer to further emphasize the emotion of the vocal or the lyrics. PROCESS THE INDIVIDUAL INSTRUMENTS BUT BE AWARE OF HOW THEY FIT AND WORK TOGETHER.