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  Better Relationships in the Studio,  at Home  

Relationships are a challenge in ordinary situations, but it gets even more interesting in the studio (or on the road). There are some basic complimentary differences with men and women (recognising that there are always exceptions) that you may find helpful.

First it helps if we know that men and women's actual brain chemicals are based differently. Men's motivation, focus and energy is more dopamine-based - and women's responses, motivation and energy is more seratonin-based. These differences has much to do with why we think and respond differently. (Dr. John Gray's Diet & Exercise Solution reveals the whole story.)

Plus our brains are physically different: Women have more Corpus Collosum than men (this is a tissue that connects the left and right sides of the brain). Women are able to use more parts of the brain simultaneously than men are, simply because there is a better connection from left to right. This is commonly why women can multi-task more than men, and men are more focused than women.

This doesn't make anyone smarter or better than the other, in fact, it's nature's way of delegating talents more evenly between us so we don't blow a fuse! It's an advantage that men can focus on something and be single-minded at times, and it's good that women can do six or seven things at once! And I'll mention it just once more, yes.... men can do six things at once and women can be focused to, so don't think I'm trying to pin anyone down to a particular behaviour. We just tend to lean in these directions most of the time, and we switch styles when it's needed.

Some complimentary differences with men and women are:

Men tend to objectify situations

Men tend to focus on results

Men open up more when they get acceptance, trust and appreciation

Women tend to personalize situations

Women tend to gravitate toward relationships

Women open up more when the get caring, understanding and respect

Here's an example is where
men objectify, and women personalize:
When a singer finishes recording a great lead vocal, the men will often comment about the vocal performance itself - "That's a great track." - "I love the energy of that take." "Those high notes are perfect."

Women, however, will often comment in a more personal way - "You sang that so well." "I loved that take, you're awesome." "Your high notes are perfect." The difference is men are speaking about the track itself, women are speaking about the person who sang the track.

From early childhood and up, males are often complimented about what they do, what they've done, what their results are, and women are complimented on who they are, how they are being, and of course how they look. So it's no wonder that men like knowing they've done a good job - created a good result - women like knowing they've done a good job and the result compliments who they are.

Trap: Sometimes we mistakenly think that the other person has a really big ego around something, when they just really resonate to a different style of love. For instance some guys have told me that their female singer has such an ego because all she thinks about is what people are going to think of her when they perform... and some women have said that all guys think about is if their gear is going to sound right and how did the band sound....

Male awareness is focused and directed.

Men go from point A to point B. They are focused on getting from here to there as efficiently as possible, and making a difference along the way. You see this in sports, as they get the ball from here to there, make the point, score the goal. A man instinctively focuses on his goal and what's right in front of him, so it's easy for him to switch his attitude by getting off problem A and looking at situation B.

His tendency to focus can tend to create problems and misunderstandings with the opposite sex. For example, when under stress, a man will tend to be more focused than usual. At such times, he tends to exclude other things that are important, if they are not in his immediate view. Let's say his wife has asked him to take out the garbage an hour ago. If he's focused on fixing a passage in a musical sequence, he may forget that she's asked him to take out the trash! He's not forgetful on purpose, it's just his style of thinking.

Female awareness is open and expansive.

Women have a complimentary difference in their awareness. They walk in a room and they notice everything - they'll see the console, the furniture, who's in the room, and they'll look to discover who else is in the room so they can start up a conversation or connect in some way.

Women tend to take care of, and keep track of, and consider all the things that are going on around her more than a man would. Ever notice how some women seem to be more concerned about more things than men? This is just the difference in our styles of looking at problems. What she brings forth is a balance to men's style with her ability to take in a larger perspective. If men were able to have the same perspective as a woman, they would worry just as much!

So rather than judge her as if something is wrong, we can appreciate this difference. Women are already masters at something men have to be trained to do! If it ever seems like she's overwhelmed with concerns, the secret is to hear and validate her feelings. It's about being with her instead of opposing her - then her mood can return to being very positive. Her expanded awareness is a gift, just as a man's ability to focus is a gift.

The primary needs of men and women are different.

Men's Needs and Styles

Thank you's


Let go and...


Don't try to change me






Need to be right, noble

You're right

Women's Needs and Styles

Being there, including




Equal power


Going the extra mile


Not discounting feelings


Not complaining, but...


Primary needs are the foundation of our different emotional styles. Caring is the first primary need of a woman. For someone to care about her or the situation she cares about, to care about her feelings. If a woman is upset about something, and a man is unwilling to listen to how she feels, she'll feel invalidated. "You don't know how I feel. If you cared, you'd listen to how I feel." is what she might say.

If she was in a situation where her professional reputation was on the line, she'd need a lot of caring in order to feel centered and handle the situation easily. Let's say her microphone has gone out on stage, and she's got to deal with a lot of changes on stage in order to work around it. She'll probably handle it quickly, but underneath, her concerns are expanding out and thinking of many more possible outcomes or consequences to a situation.

Men don't generally think the same way, so they can't always comprehend where she's going with all her feelings. Guys may unknowingly say things like, "It's no problem, you can just use the bass players mic" or "Stop worrying!" or "What are you so upset about, nobody cares!" These kinds of comments come when men don't know her good reasons for her thoughts.

What the guys think they are doing is supporting her by telling her to trust that everything will work out all right. To them she is overreacting because if it were them, they would just focus on a solution, or blow it off because they can't do anything about it! This is their way of trusting things will work out.

Men need to be trusted.

It is just as important for a man to be trusted as it is for a woman to be cared about. Guys, you can relate to this, right, to be trusted just feels good. When someone says "I know I can trust you" or "I can always trust so-and-so to do the best job."

Men's need for trust comes from their instinctive drive toward being noble. When a man records a song or sets up the stage or does a gig, there's a part of him that wants to be (ok so it's corny) the knight in shinning armour. This is just in our genes, so to speak. We've been doing it for centuries - trying to make a difference, even at great cost. When a man is on any kind of a mission, it gives him strength to know he's trusted - he'll get the job done. That's the motivation behind the oh-so-common phrase, "Don't worry about it." He's asking for trust - asking for his competency to be empowered.

Because men need primarily need to feel trusted, one of the biggest mistakes a woman can make is to give unsolicited advice, even though this is an aspect of her caring style. Offering help, without being asked may say to him that you don't trust him to have the answer. Men want you to wait till he asks for advice, before giving it. Many women become frustrated when they hear this. They say, "If I cant' give advice, how do I get what I want?" The secret is to ask for what you want in a positive way. By learning to ask for more, in a non-demanding way, most women are surprised at how much more support they will receive!

Strategy: Ask men questions instead of giving advice. Asking a question lets him "stay in charge" and "save face." What my wife does at times like this, is she'll hold on to what she'd really like to say, caring and all that, and instead, she'll ask me a question - "Did you see the policeman back there?" She knows that this supports my need to do a good job. And she'll avoid my defensive grumbles that may come out if she tells me what to do when I'm on some kind of mission. A man always wants to be the knight in shinning armour, even if he is just simply driving to the theater!

Women need to be understood, and validated by others. This makes her feel emotionally supported. This is why communication is so important to women. A key point is that women talk to be understood. What men can do to support women is to listen to them when they talk. I've seen men roll their eyes when women start to talk, but resisting a woman's need to talk is almost like resisting a man's need for focusing.

So when a woman is in the studio, and she's upset about a part change, it doesn't help if a guy engineer tells her to just accept that this part is better! She needs for her opinion to be heard, and for others to understand her point of view. Once she feels she's been heard and not invalidated, then her ability to accept will then naturally come out.

Her internal priority is to understand first, then accept. We can say to her "I can see you aren't feeling good about this idea yet. Tell me more about why - let's discuss what's best." With a man, we could say "I see your different viewpoint on this part. That could be right, so let's check it out and let's see if it makes the most sense to everyone."

When you ask a woman a question, ask her how she feels. If you ask a man a question, ask him what he thinks! By understanding our complimentary differences, we can avoid tension when our creativity is more important.

Men need appreciation and women need respect.

Guys, how many times have you ever felt like no one's appreciated what you've done for them? And women, how many times have you ever felt like you were not getting the respect that you deserved? These two needs are powerful motivators.

I've noticed that in almost every conversation with a man where gratitude is being expressed, the man will usually say, "....I appreciate you doing this thing." Or, I'd appreciate it if you'd do ...(whatever.)" Whereas with a woman, she'll say, "You're so easy to work with." or " would be wonderful if you would...(do whatever.)" Check out the two styles at work, here. She's expressing a kind of respect for how the other person is being, and he's expressing appreciation for the other person's result.

So let's say you're trying to get a better price on cassette duplication, and the sales rep. for the company is a guy. Tell him how much you'll appreciate him helping you out with a better price. Tell him about the difference his actions will make for you. If, on the other hand, the sales rep is a lady, tell her how wonderful she is to care about your budget needs. Tell her that you understand she can't guarantee what the boss will say, but that it's really nice of her to try for you.

Appealing to a persons gender-appropriate needs is empowering.

Try this technique out and notice that people genuinely like a gender-appropriate compliment! It really makes them feel good when they work with you! Your reputation will always be tops because you are speaking to what people need at a deeper level. After a bit of practice with this, it will become automatic to switch styles when you are working with each sex.

So why in the world would John Vestman share this kind of info on a mastering site???  I think we only keep what we share, so I'm sharing.  I also grew up in an era when musicians had a lot to say about what was going on in the world.  They spoke up about the conditions of others and they made a positive difference in many cases.  Silence and caring less is only a sure way to make it harder to find the high road.  I'm simply opening up part of my map.  So here's my Message to Musicians about making a difference. We have much to learn from each other, and the more we know, the easier it is to succeed!

Date created: 02/10/03 • Last modified: 02/10/03
Result Language
Positive Acceptance Level
Wealth Attitudes
Life Success for Musicians