Being a music freelance composer, I can’t tell you how many times I run into a client who has NO idea what they want from me. And it’s not so much that they don’t know but more that they don’t know how to explain what they want because they don’t know music terminology. In this article, we will talk about learning new skills and why it’s important to do so.
Difficulty Working with Uninformed People
I’ve done enough freelance work where I have learned to work with people who don’t understand music terminology, but I have always wondered why people don’t learn a little bit about a skill or craft before hiring someone to do it for them. I talk further about this in my article Why You Shouldn’t Do it All By Yourself. A lot of these people have a specific vision for certain aspects of their product, but it’s a pretty big problem when you don’t know how to explain what you want to these people.
I’ve been on the side of the contributor, and the side of the project leader before. And as someone who was once an unknowledgeable project leader needing a certain task done, and working as a music freelancer with a project leader who has been unknowledgeable about music, I can easily say that it turns into a messy situation on both sides.
Being the Uninformed Person
I was in college when a friend and I decided to create a video game together. He and I covered every skill required to make a game… except for art. He and I knew almost NOTHING about art. I could draw, but I don’t know the first thing about any artistic theories. We hired someone to do the art and I remember sitting for hours on end trying to come up with the right looking characters for our game with the artist. We didn’t get anywhere with it and the game still hasn’t been released.
We didn’t finish or release for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons was the fact that we weren’t artists. That’s what we said at the time anyway, but the real reason was that we didn’t know how to communicate with one!
Have Familiarity with Skills to Express your Great Ideas
I believe that everyone has valuable ideas, but it’s all about how you are able to create your final product. The ideas are the easy part. You just have to sit there and think of stuff, but you don’t become successful on just ideas alone. Sure, there are some ideas that have conflicts and you have to work those out until it all makes sense. But once you work out those conflicts it’s still just an idea, it isn’t anything tangible. Those who actually go through the trouble and overcome the obstacles to actually CREATE something are the ones who succeed.
I’ve written articles touching on how we need other people in life for many reasons, one of the big ones being that you need people to help you create your ideas. If you are going to have help from other people to create your ideas, you’re going to need to learn to communicate with them to some degree.
Being the Properly Informed Person
Let’s say I need a logo for my company that I am starting. If I am able to find an artist that I like, and have decent knowledge of composition and color theory among others things, then I could potentially guide him to create something that I feel is best for the company. I can tell him what I like, what I don’t like, what I feel works and doesn’t work because I am somewhat knowledgeable about the subject of art. And that is exactly what I have done for my music album covers in the past. The artist would have placed the focus of the album art in an odd spot, but because of my knowledge of art composition, I can tell him to move the focus to the correct place and then it overall looks much better.
If you can’t properly explain to your peers what you want, then your vision is falling short of its truest potential and the overall product you are selling. Now there is value to other people’s ideas and opinions as well, which is why it’s also important to find the right people for the job. I can think of plenty of times where my knowledge in music led to a decision that greatly benefitted the project we were working on.
However there are other times where it doesn’t all fit together. One small piece of a project can make a huge difference to how it’s perceived by others. An unattractive logo can make less people stay on your website, or maybe someone you hired for marketing went to the wrong demographic.
Bring your Full Idea to Life
The only person that can make sure that doesn’t happen is you. It doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of familiarity with the skills of those that you work with. In the end, after learning those skills, your ideas can be fully developed into exactly what you see in your head. And what’s more important than having your full idea come to life?