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A Musician’s Guide: 8 Tips to Prepare for Your Next Recording Session

Preparing For A Recording Session

I received an email today from a friend who is the manager of an up-and-coming girl group. She and the group received the final mix to one of their songs and had some concerns with the overall blend and felt like the vocals were boosted unnecessarily, as well as parts of the beat, and so now it seems like there are additional pitch problems. After listening to the mixes I realize it was not the mix that needed improving but it was the vocal production that needed work. These were the tips I gave her to so that she and the girls don’t have to waste time have to re-record songs.

  • Make sure everyone knows the date and time of the session. You don’t want to be called in to work halfway through your session. Everyone involved needs to clear their schedules. As well as schedule your recording sessions for consecutive days. When you have several days in a row to work with, you can make sure plenty of time is allowed for setting things up and getting the right sounds.
  • Have A Plan. Is the material ready? Are the melodies tight and rehearsed? Having a clear idea of what you’re creating before you even step foot in the studio, and budgeting both your time and money will make a huge difference in the final product.
  • Don’t invite all your friends to come by the session. While this may seem like a friendly thing to do at the time, after the hundredth or so interruption you won’t feel so friendly. Recording is actually a pretty boring process to watch unless you are directly involved. Instead, invite all your friends to the album release party!

  • Make sure your songs are finished. Going into the studio hoping to finish lyrics or on the spot is a recipe for a negative experience. You may be inspired by the pressure, but you’ll listen back to it later on and think that you could have sang it better, or that you don’t especially like this line or phrase.

  • Find the right studio. Virtually any fully equipped recording studio will be able to get the job done, but each studio has its own unique characteristics. Some studios are filled with the newest gear and are designed for digital recording. Others have vintage gear and unique acoustics that add a certain color to your sound. You might know what is best for you until you’ve visited several studios.

  • Practice. You’d be surprised how many acts come into the studio obviously unprepared. Come in with a well-rehearsed structure for your songs. Take the time to practice the songs you want to record in the studio thoroughly. This isn’t to say that you can’t be creative in the studio, but it’s a lot cheaper to be creative on your own time.
  • Use social networking to your advantage. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, musicians’ forums, and many other online resources can help you connect with recording studios, freelance engineers, independent producers, and numerous musicians that could give you tips and recommendations along the way. Not to mention, blogging about the making of your album is also a great way to get your fans excited about the final result.
  • Relax! Recording is fun and there’s no really no pressure. Just be prepared and you’ll have a smooth, and enjoyable session with a great product at the end!

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