Definitions, Understanding, and Assumed Knowledge

I believe that if you don't know what something is, then you couldn't possibly know what it does. What has always fascinated me about music is the vast number of parts that make up the whole. Understanding the definitions takes me back to learning as a child when I was made to write out definitions about a specific topic. Things like names, dates, places, etc were all in need of defining and, in applying that idea to learning the craft of production and mixing, one has many, many, names and things to define.  

Think about all the parts in a DAW, each icon you click has a name and a function. Do you know them all? Do you know the ones you need? Do you even know which ones you need? Do you know when you'd need it?  

Think about all the parts in music, each sound event (and silence) has a function and a name. There are labels for genres, styles, instruments, etc... basically everything has a label and needs to be labeled.  


Where I am going with all of this is that I've found it to be of great help to understand, and be able to define for anyone (like if they were 5 years old), about any aspect of music and the technology behind it. There should be nothing that requires a complex explanation, or charts, etc.  
I believe it has to be simple; always. I believe that it all can be defined, and defining leads to understanding. Understanding leads to freedom. Freedom leads to creativity.                                                                                                                                                                                           If you're just starting out, getting familiar with the words and terms you will see day in and day out is something that is paramount to becoming an expert (this applies for anything you do in life).  

if you're not new to the game, then going through all the definitions for the sake of wholeness and total understanding of the topic is what's up. A true master can explain it to a five year old. Can you?  

Simply being able to put a label on something and say "this is this, and it does xyz" will take out a lot of the mysteries in the task being performed.  

Let's say you were mixing down a track and the drummer says the snare sounds boxy, would you know what to do? where to go?  

Let's say the artist you're working with wanted to include a fermata coming out of the bridge before the last chorus. Would you know what this is? do you know where the bridge is? know what a chorus is? 

Catch my drift?  


With that said, after all of this time spent studying and reading (in parallel to actually experiencing music and production), there is something I like to think of called "assumed knowledge." This happens after working and experiencing something over a long period of time. It is assumed you know how to hold a fork, wash your hands, put on pants, etc. Imagine having to look those things up on google every time you wanted to perform such a task... In my case, it meant exploring new topics and experiences in music, but constantly trying to put together what just happened and define things. What would then happen is I wasn't fully in the moment and wasn't fully immersed, but instead grappling with trying to figure it all out. Be patient, though, it takes a long time to get it all, and I'm only a quarter of the way there... 
Well, once you've engrained it enough, it becomes something of second nature and, when you have that mastered, you can move onto more advanced things...  

My point is that when learning this stuff, you learn the definition first, then get an understanding, and finally work your way out of the fundamentals. The understanding of the fundamentals leads to assumptions in your knowledge when you are working with other able musicians and producers. It is here that - in my opinion - true learning takes place and you actually begin to experience the creative side of things. It'll only happen however, when you have the fundamentals rock solid and understand all the parts that are involved to make the whole.  

This is something that's been on my mind for awhile because in my walk with music, theory, technology, mixing, production, songwriting, mastering, etc., I've learned a process to learn anything... I can easily take this process of understanding and learn something new like building a house, or repairing an automobile. To me, they are one in the same. I want to help you learn to learn, as I call it. This is the first steps towards that.  

Remember, you want to have as much assumed knowledge under your belt so that you can truly experience things and not be worried about holes in your knowledge or a lack of understanding.


Here are some links to get you started in defining music and production...