Trust But Verify To Make Your Music Better


One of our most popular articles discusses the idea that if you do not comment on the other members of your band’s playing it will be poisonous to your songwriting. Astute commenter Cowboy Ted commented on that article saying -

“What do you do when people stop criticizing you or never do it because
they ‘believe in you’ too much?”

This is a great questions and a very common problem. Too much trust in a player can lend to an environment of stagnancy and not reaching the full potential of a song’s ability. After the jump we will discuss how to avoid this and make sure you always get the most out of your creative team.

As a producer, I will often work with younger groups that look up to me for the records I have been a part of. I often say that this can be worse for a record than working with a band who has never heard of my work. These bands will trust that I am some sort of genius and defer to my opinion when one of the things I find will make a great record is questioning my word and making sure we are doing the right thing. Ronald Reagen long ago said that you should “Trust but verify” and that is exactly the basis of a great creative environment. While being questioned and never trusted can be poisonous to productivity and creativity if you ask and make sure all is well and then trust you know you will get a result that achieves a higher result.

If you challenge and make sure everyone is taking their part to it’s full potential you will begin to have a environment where everyone is challenged. One of the first things I do when starting a record where I feel I am being trusted with too much is to establish that everyone should trusty their guts and to never trust each other and just say their gut feeling at all times. If everyone says what is in their gut and is able to question each other and then trust one anothers answers you are bound to have a great environment to make great music in.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • Cowboy Ted

    Thanks Jesse, I love the site, I’ve been reading it non-stop since yesterday afternoon. That’s great advice…You seem to advocate trying everything you can to stay moving and resist stagnancy. It’s nice to see the guy who produced “**** World Trade” referring to Ronald Reagan too, you’re a scholar among men.

  • Jesse Cannon

    Ha! If I had my way this would be a blog about how much I hate Ronald Reagen and wish I could dig him up to kick him and Milton Friedman’s sorry free market asses. Thanks for the kind words!