How many hours a week do you spend mixing?

I’ve read that it takes 10,000 hrs to become an expert at something. I have been mixing for three years at an average of 4-6hrs a week. At this rate I will be almost 80 by the time I master mixing.

What do you guys think of the 10,000 hour theory?

I would like to spend more time mixing but my wife tends to get a bit jealous. She doesn’t really have a hobby herself. Any advice for me with that?

How do you guys find time to make music? I always seem too busy with work and family responsibilities. Mixing seems like a very time consuming hobby and it’s so addictive.

Do I need to put some more time into it? Is that the reason(excuse) why I’m not good at it?

1 Like

Singing, playing guitar, playing bass, writing, trying to learn to mix

and of course thats on top of a full time job etc

I guess if it was easy, everyone would do it

1 Like

Find her a hobby. If not, divorce is also an option! :wink:

But seriously, it’s hard to balance all things, I often do a lot of hours as a self-employed software consultant, and then half of my time in the evenings and week-ends I have my daughter with me and cannot just ignore (although I’m tempted sometimes! :)), so I do as much as I can but have to realize that it’s never enough…

There’s some hard truth in the 10,000 hours theory for sure.
I had put that amount in my guitar playing, but then I’ve stopped playing for 15 years and now I’m no longer that good anymore. I try to compensate that with some more taste and “musical wisdom” (whatever that is).


I dunno about 10K hours, but it does take a significant time investment to do this recording & mixing thing, to be sure.

As far as your wife goes, does she have any interest in maybe singing with you on your stuff? That has been great for me, my wife also kind of resented the amount of time I was devoting to this at first, but then I got her to do some really simple backing vocals for me, and that grew to more and more involvement over time. Now she helps me out on more than half of the tunes I do, sometimes taking the spotlight herself. We love doing this, it’s now something we share. Worth a try!


Thanks for that @Chordwainer

Yeah I was thinking to try to get her more involved. I love her voice but she is really self conscience. With the limited amount of singing technique I know I was able to help her improve and she was really excited about that. But usually I can tell she is just trying to be interested in my hobby.

Does your wife help you by singing or helps out with mixing too? I was thinking to get my wife more involved but mixing seems to be a bit of a one man job.

1 Like

My wife just sings, she has zero interest in the mixing side, and as you say, it’s not really a shareable activity.

My wife was also extremely self-conscious at first. I had to get her good and liquored up before she’d feel relaxed enough to go for it. That’s why I gradually built her involvement from just a few “ooohs” and “aaaahs” as bgv up to more extensive parts. After those first few, when she could hear that her vox made a significant positive effect, she got more confident. And then when I posted stuff with her singing on Bash This Recording, and got some pretty positive comments from bashers about her vocals, that helped a LOT. She started to really take some pride in the finished products. And now she finds songs that we can do together and brings them to me, which is awesome!

So my advice is start small and easy, and work your way up. The old analogy applies of putting the frog into the pot of water and only slowly increasing the heat… :wink:

1 Like

Thanks @Chordwainer just what I needed to know.

Great analogy too!!!


1 Like

Here’s one of our more recent pieces, in which she does three separate harmony parts. This was a LOT of work for her, and she totally dug doing it, even though there were a few testy moments tracking-- doing close harmonies is fiddly sometimes. But she’s come SO far since those first oooohs and aaaaahs…


Make it you job. How? Charge people money for it :smiley: Then the question is how do you find people to charge money.

1 Like

Love it!!!

You should come to my country. The standard of television and audio production is unbelievably poor. I could make better programs with my old beat up iPhone using iMovie. I am not exaggerating.

There is a market for audio and video production. The problem is this is a pretty poor country and I don’t think I could live off what they would pay. I am looking into it though because the standard honestly is quite poor.

I never seem to have enough time and yeah, I think there is definitely merit in that 10,000 hours thing… blast it!! :grimacing:

My husband just can’t understand how I can listen to one phrase over and over, tweaking the tiniest thing and then quite possibly abandoning it altogether… while he is totally supportive of the end-result, it sure is an anti-social activity, tucking myself away upstairs and either closing the door to use my monitors or zoning out with headphones. I find it is a balancing act…


Where are you?

One of my friends asked me the same thing. I asked him how he can throw a ball through a hoop over and over again. His answer = because it’s fun and I’m damn good at it. Well? There ya go.


There are a couple things to consider with this. First of all, mixing is a listening art. I’m guessing you’ve done a whole lot more than 10,000 hours listening :wink: Keep that in mind as you’re driving in your car, listening to the stereo. Listen for what is happening in the songs. You’re actively engaged in your hobby!
I like to play guitar. I’ve done it for 20+ years. But if I had only worked on my own stuff and never actively listened to what others were doing, I’d likely never have learned most of the tricks I’ve picked up on over the years. Spending time paying attention to other “experts” is just as valid as picking up the instrument and playing it.
Hope that makes sense :wink:

Regarding the wife. I would recommend finding ways to include her (at least occasionally) in what you’re doing. My wife doesn’t particularly enjoy hearing the same 10 seconds of music repeated hundreds of times, but she is one of my favorite ways to check a mix when I feel like it’s about done. She doesn’t understand what goes on behind the scenes to make a good song, but she knows when she likes a song. She’s a representative of my target audience. I don’t make music for you guys (fellow engineers, musicians)… No offense, but you’re too tough of a crowd. lol.
I also try to be aware of circumstances to pick and choose my mixing times. If she’s binge watching a show, I duck out and get some mixing done. If the kids are being nuts and wearing her down, then I opt to be available. It’s a give-and-take thing that I’m sure you’re quite aware of.

We just celebrated our 20th anniversary this last week! And according to my calculations, that would be a total of 175,000+ hours of marriage. I am NOT an expert in marriage and have fully completed my 10,000 hour requirement :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
Just a bit of perspective for you.


I’m 33. I’ve driven a car at least 10,000 hours, and I’m still a pretty shitty driver. I’ve wrecked almost 10 cars and lost track of how many tickets I have. I’m getting better but 10,000 hrs? Ppft. Didn’t do much for me :frowning:


I’m in Samoa
Population about 200,000

They love remixing songs here. They love the T-Pain effect. And it seems they all have FL Studio which I’m almost certain are all pirate copies.

Another thing I notice is the use of Top 40 songs in TV ads. I’m pretty sure they aren’t paying licensing fees or what ever is necessary. They even used to play the latest pirated movies until the local cinema complained.

BTW I’m a terrible driver too

1 Like

Thanks you make some good points.

Problem form me is my wife only watches TV if I watch it with her.

This last year it’s probably averaged about 20 hours a week. That’s about as much as I can manage with a full time job going on as well, and to be honest it’s a bit more than is comfortable.

The main bother is that I live in a semi detached house and all the rooms big enough to mix have an adjoining wall with the neighbor’s house. They’ve never complained but I don’t think it’d take long after 10 minutes of looping the same two bar segment to EQ the toms. :smiley: So, I mix at a rented rehearsal studio that my band has. It’s a 25 minute drive away, so every time I do a mix session that’s an hour of my day gone before I’ve done anything.

In some ways the drive is good psychologically for focusing me on the task, but it’s still a pain in the backside.

The 10,000 hour thing? It’s probably a reasonable rule of thumb as far as it goes.

1 Like

You plan to boil your wife alive? Sheesh!


We’re into the kinky stuff John. cheezy grin She often comments on how much she enjoys helping on the music and how she never thought she’d ever think that, from her initial forays… she’s a happy frog. :frog:

@holster Bryan, great points! One of the main things Andrew gets across in his “Cloth Ears” article is to be listening attentively to everything, not just music but the ambient sound characteristics of spaces one find oneself in (hey, cool acoustics in here, if I were playing/recording here it’d be like xyz…). It’s a form of training and engaging in the hobby, as you say.

And plus a jillion for having my wife as my reality check on mixes and songs. In this sense it’s a significant advantage that she is not involved in the actual mixing process. She will give me her unvarnished view as a “normal listener” and make very good suggestions. These range from things that do pertain to mixing (“your voice needs to be louder” etc) to notes on the compositions themselves (“you’re repeating that section at least once too often in the chorus” etc). I never put anything up on BTR until she’s listened and given it a thumbs up.

Great thread! I realize I never answered the “hours per week” topic question! For me it varies wildly. Sometimes I go a month or more without sitting down at the music computer. This particular past month, I’ve had some renewed energy and come up with some new songs, so have been spending several hours almost every day working on them. Likely to recede soon, given other constraints on my time and the fact that I’m now out of originals again til the next burst of creativity strikes…!