In her youth, Rosie was a state champion trumpet player. Rosie has a BA in Sociology, is a published author, researcher, programmer & policy advocate whose submissions have been referenced in Parliamentary Reports. After a very long absence from music Rosie returned to music during the pandemic & is now a composer & musician. Email:

40 Solo
26 Duet
14 Quartet
13 Jazz Band
12 Trio
10 Orchestra
8 Brass Band
5 Concert Band
5 Quintet
4 Sextet
2 Choir

The difference between mixing and mastering

An overview of the different roles in making music

I haven’t blogged for a while so I thought I’d get back into things with a blog post about the difference between music composition, production, mixing and mastering. These terms of are closely related but they are not the same thing. If you are working on your own then you have to apply all of these skills, a demanding and often tricky process.

There’s only so much we can control as individual musicians working on our own. We might be limited to the virtual instruments (or real performances) we can afford to purchase to create our own track as well as our knowledge of how to use the DAW. A DAW is a Digital Audio Workstation and is where the tracks get recorded and blended with all the other instruments that go into laying down a single track.

Production is the responsibility for the overall sound including decisions like whether you will record live musicians (if funds permit) or whether you will use virtual instruments. Mixing is when you decide how to blend those different instruments into a single track, including raising and lowering the volume for each individual instrument so the right parts can be heard at the right time. Mastering is more of a finishing process where decisions about whether the whole mix should sound like it’s in a big echoing room or whether it sounds like a small studio recording with a more flat sound.

The easiest way to grasp the difference beween production, mixing and mastering is to think about the difference between a school band playing a piece of music and the same peice of music played by a professional orchestra. The difference in the sound (due to limitations of skill, instrument etc) in the school band will mean the piece may sound quite different than the expert performance of the orchestra.

While the piece of music is technically the same piece of music, it is likely to sound quite different. This is imporant when it comes to judging someone’s ability at composition because without access to professional musicians and recording spaces, the original composition is going to be judged on what may be a very limited production. This can be quite frustrating to a beginner composer as you hear mistakes in the performance, mixing or mastering that have nothing to do with the original score.

26th Aug 2023

Free Book of Piano Scores for the Adult Learner

I have created a book of piano solos to suit the tastes of mature students

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