Sessions in a professional recording studio are an exciting experience for most musicians. That’s usually where the magic happens. What is recorded is a combination of emotion and instrumental skill. It is as unique as each of us. It cannot be repeated and the moment that is “sealed” in the recording studio is the great magic of an experience, literally and figuratively. Some musicians rely more on emotional mood to achieve an impactful result. Others prefer to stay on the “safe coast” and learn with lots of rehearsals what they are about to record. There are no specific rules. But a few tips can be defined that are good to keep in mind before a recording session. Their goal is to make the musicians as prepared as possible for the session, so that the time spent in the studio is optimally distributed.
- Defining the “must” and “desirable” things that need to happen in the studio.
Define very precisely the elements that must be recorded. Prioritize these items in terms of both time and attention. For example, if you are recording a bass guitar, it is good to define and record all the basic “must-have” bass tracks. Only then can you pay attention to the desirable ones. So if the time available to the whole band is overscheduled, you won’t end up with a recorded bass with an effect that isn’t particularly important to the song, and the vocal won’t have time to record additional voices, for example.
- Take advantage of the “magic” and advantages of digital recording.
Anyone who has recorded in a studio knows how a perfectly learned part becomes “difficult” to perform when the microphone is turned on. This can be saved. Break your implementation into logical parts. Focus on correct and emotional performance of shorter passages. So a well played riff that is repeated will be well played in all places after it is copied. You don’t have to try to do it end to end without making a mistake, because probably out of worry or other factors it just happens. It is another matter if you are a virtuoso and you count on the combination of emotion and professionalism to explode in a unique improvisation. …everyone bows to the genius of such musicians 🙂
- Make a rough schedule of what you will be recording in advance.
That way you’ll know exactly what’s next. In addition, this will give the people you will be working with in the studio the opportunity to consider alternative approaches, recording options and possibilities that may work for you. If you tell them what you’re going to do after you get into the studio, they won’t be able to respond with suggestions like they would if they had time beforehand. This always works for you.
- Practice with a metronome.
This is a very very serious and important rule for a good result in a studio. When you rehearse and know the songs very well, it is very different from the next moment when you find yourself with headphones and the annoying click starts to measure the tempo of the song. Then everything is completely different and most often you are disappointed with the result. Thus, the emotional mood deteriorates and reflects the recording process. So as a very important tip and recommendation – rehearse the songs before recording with a metronome.
- Schedule with time for experiments.
We all know that the song most “comes alive” precisely from these crazy experiments. When we free our thoughts and consciousness from worries and “stiff” performance in order not to make mistakes, but simply have fun and do things with mood and emotion, then magic happens. Practice shows that when the song begins to take on a finished form, we are flooded with new ideas and possibilities. Until now, they have not been possible for various reasons. You might decide you need sounds from a nearby park or just decide to do a few improvisations. Sometimes these final touches are the “tip of the ice cream” and give the piece a finished look and memorable elements. After a while, if you try to imagine the song without them, you will agree that it will not be the same at all. So leave enough time in your schedule for these experiments and have fun!By following these recommendations, it is possible to have a more enjoyable time in the recording studio and record better tracks. Indeed, some of the things we offer as advice are routine and not suitable for musicians 🙂 Making schedules and such … but they will give you more time and freedom for your ideas.