Optimise Your Studio Health: Exercises for Your Ears, Mind, and Body

Optimise Your Studio Health: Exercises for Your Ears, Mind, and Body

A long day in the studio can leave you feeling stiff, mentally drained, and with ears begging for mercy. But what if small tweaks and targeted exercises could combat those issues, leaving you more energised, focused, and ready to deliver your best work for clients? Let's dive into simple yet effective practices you can easily incorporate into your audio engineering routine.

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Exercises for Your Ears

  • Ear "Palate Cleansers": Take short breaks between sessions to listen to natural soundscapes, gentle ambient music, or even silence. This resets your ears and reduces listening fatigue.
  • Active Reference Listening: Analyse familiar mixes, focusing on different elements (bass, reverb tails, vocal nuances) on each pass. This trains your ear to discern details with greater clarity.
  • Volume Calibration: Periodically mix at very low volumes for a short time. This forces you to listen more critically and helps avoid ear-damaging volume creep.

Exercises for Your Mind

  • Mindfulness Breaks: Five minutes of simple breath awareness meditation can significantly reduce stress and improve focus. Free apps like Headspace or Calm offer guided sessions.
  • "Problem Parking": If stuck on a mix decision, jot it down on a "parking lot" list and move on. Returning later with a fresh perspective often yields solutions faster.
  • Creative Prompts: Keep a list of random words or image prompts. If feeling uninspired, choose one and let it spark a new mix approach or sonic experimentation.

Exercises for Your Body

  • Posture Checks: Every hour, roll your shoulders back, lengthen your spine, and tuck your chin slightly. This combats the hunched position common in audio work.
  • Micro Stretches: Even at your desk, you can do neck rolls, wrist stretches, and leg extensions to release tension and improve circulation.
  • Eye Breaks: Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to reduce eye strain.

Additional Tips

  • Hydration Station: Keep water readily accessible for optimal cognitive function and vocal health.
  • Strategic Snacking: Have brain-boosting snacks like nuts and fruit on hand to avoid energy crashes.
  • Walk and Talks: Could you take a client call or brainstorm session outside while walking? Movement boosts creativity.

The Bottom Line

These small exercises aren't about adding more to your to-do list, but rather about integrating moments of self-care and optimisation into your existing workflow. By taking care of your ears, mind, and body, you'll not only feel better but also produce better results.

Think of it this way: tuning your instrument (in this case, yourself) is just as crucial as tuning that kick drum for a powerful mix.

Let me know if you'd like links to resources for some of the specific exercises mentioned!

Rich Steve Beck is the creator and owner of Produce Mix Fix Conquer/We Are PMFC and PMFC Atlas. As well as being a Mastering Engineer, Blogger, Podcast Interviewer and Community Leader, Rich has 20 years + experience in finance, insurance, account management and online marketing. This will be a regular series supporting new up and coming audio engineers and producers as well as hopefully throwing around some fresh ideas to industry veterans to help assist sustainability. Cherry pick what is helpful, leave behind what you don't need. Good luck on your audio adventures! 

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