The more I practice it, the more I fall in love with standard work, and I wonder how on earth I've managed without it for so long.
I'm sure part of my enthusiasm has to do with the fact that by now I have a lot of hours of practicing it (read: making mistakes) under my belt, so I've acquired a better "knack" of how to go about it, when to use the telescope and when the fine grain, how to better phrase an instruction to get the effect, when to use a picture, or a diagram instead...
(Of course in these matters, the more you know, the more you discover how much you're still lacking; some elephants have still proven to be uneatable for me at the moment, but I certainly feel I'm entering the next, better stage of my "unsatisfaction" :) )
Here's an example of standardization: I've been doing some guitar tracking these days. I've written down a "card" that I check before each take, and it helps me immensely.
It's just a piece of cardboard with a few jots; using a different material makes it stand out visually from all the other notes, papers, and all the mess that unavoidably accumulates during the session-. Here it is, in all its crudity:
It takes my eye perhaps 5-8 seconds to slide through all the indications before hitting record in the DAW -the combination of picture + text helps things click in an even easier way-. Not precisely state of the art technology, but the thought contained within this humble device has saved me I would say already a few hours of silliness and frustration. Forgetting any of the simple things contained in the card is bound to send a track to waste. Plus that horrifying fatigue of continuously starting-then-stopping-tweaking-ok-are-we-really-ready-now...
None of these things are earth shattering, but together they amount to quite a bunch of potential "paper cuts" when you are a musician who has to "engineer" himself. A few examples that will feel sadly familiar to any home recordist out there:
* Not using the right (closed) headphones can leak the metronome into the take.
* Forgetting to enable the metronome will result in an uncomfortable, uneven performance -or even if you heroically make it to the end, it will strain you due to the additional concentration required-. Plus you have gifted yourself a session of rework later with any mistake you make. Not the most comfortable perspective to let your artistic self flow.
* Not sitting at the edge of the seat means (in my case) uncomfortable posture for playing, i.e. risking additional strain, injury, or at the very least mistakes in the take that again you'll have to go back and overdub later, etc...
* Not checking tuning before each take results in a magical effect where, the better you play, the more out of tune you'll find you were later.
And so on with all the elements of the card... I really wonder how I managed without little things like this. My way to simplicity has been quite complicated, as it sometimes is the case...
I have a guitar and I'm gonna use it