We know that we're always shining a spotlight on music and all the beauty that is built within it - but what about silence? Does silence even exist, if not only in theory? What are the benefits of quieting your mind and your environment? How can we learn from a lack of sound?
It may be wise to strongly and honestly consider how often you allow yourself to sit in silence. Do you often fall asleep to a television? Does it play all night long? Many studies have shown that this is incredibly disruptive to our sleep by lowering the quality and depth of our cycles.
There’s a reason why so many successful people cite meditation as a major inspiration and behavioral element that is crucial in their everyday practices. This allows us to go within, listen to our body and mind and take a real assessment of how our daily lives are either bringing us peace or bringing us chaos. It allows us to dull and tune out the world around us and actually sit with ourselves without any influence or interference. This is often the sweet spot where inspiration is delivered effortlessly to us.
If you’ve done any recording, mixing or mastering for hours and days on end, you know better than anyone that aural fatigue is very real. This occurs when your ears are simply incredibly tired. This blurs our ability to hear clearly and is the exact reason why when sometimes you stay up till four in the morning, you’ll wake up in the afternoon to find that the mix you worked so tirelessly on sounds less than ideal. Way less than ideal. This is where silence comes in.
Not only do we suggest that you should embrace stretches of time where silence is allowed to hold its own space, but you should also make use of small breaks of sound. Especially when you’re mixing or mastering, due to the necessity of being able to zero in on all of those little details, you need to be as sharp and as well rested as possible. We understand that life is often too fast paced to create idealistic situations for us all day long, however we are able to make small attempts and adjustments in our behavior and schedules.
During the times that you find yourself in a long session, politely excuse yourself for a five minute walk around the block once every three or so hours. There are so many variables that come into play. Did you just come back from vacation and are working with a whole lot of extra, well rested energy? Or, are you hungry, overwhelmed, short on rent money and upset about a relationship issue? If you’re working with a whole slew of issues, we suggest giving yourself and your ears a little extra time to decompress.
When working in a recording setting with others, it may seem improper to excuse yourself for a small sonic vacation, but your colleagues will thank you and understand your process when they see how refreshed you come back. Be polite and choose the appropriate time to do this, perhaps when the others in the room are grabbing a bite to eat. You never know, you may inspire them to take care of their ears and their mind. We often underestimate how much stimuli can really push us over the edge. If we manage this in small increments, we’ll be that much better for it in the end. If we don’t, you may find so many wasted hours of work put in, while you weren’t hearing things correctly due to the aural fatigue. Be preventive in your choices and you’ll truly embrace longevity.
Allowing yourself to sit in silence may prove to you that silence does not even exist. If you pause the elements around you that you are able to control, such as blasting music or a blaring television, you may notice the low howl of your heater, the birds pontificating outside, the small sounds of your fingers typing on a keyboard.
So, when we look closer, we see that silence may not even be silent at all. No matter how we classify it, we believe it’s safe to agree that everyone could use a bit of a brain break once in a while, if not once a day.