When you finally get the chance to record some of your stuff, it’s a great opportunity to nail down your sound and start handing out demos. Whether you are looking to make it big or you just want to know what your mates think, there is no better way to share music than to share a recording.
But whether you are going old school and burning disks or you are planning to upload music on indiesound, there are a few rules of the recording room you should know. This could be your chance to really put yourself out there, so making the most of this short time is crucial to your success.
If you are in the recording studio, you need to be able to play your music without tripping up or working it out as you go along. For all that some of the best songs have come from improvisation, the time for that has passed and you need to focus your sights on recording, not rehearsing.
Make sure that you know exactly what you are going to do before you even set foot in the studio. Give yourself plenty of time to perfect the music so that you almost don’t have to think for it to come out just as you like. A bit like rehearsing for an exam, the closer to second nature it gets, the better the quality of the sound will be on the recording.
When you are practicing though, don’t just play through. Do pick bits apart and rehearse tiny segments of the music by themselves. This will help to aid the cohesion of the piece so that the hard bits sound just as easy as the basics. In fact, recording yourself on your phone before you get to the recording studio will give you an idea of what you can and can’t get away with!
Figure Out Your Musical Priorities
Because recording studios are expensive to rent, you need to have a game plan in order to make the most of the time you have. Even if you can afford multiple goes to get it right, recording fatigue is a real problem for musicians and what might have started out as a raw expression can quickly fade into an average, over-produced flop.
It can take much longer than you might think to record a single song with some methods even taking hours to achieve – especially if you are dubbing over each instrument and you have a big sound! But even if you aren’t putting a professional album together, you need to leave plenty of time to have a few goes at each song you want to record.
You should also leave some time for warming up. This is really important for everyone because warming up isn’t just about heating your instrument or loosening your vocal cords, it’s also a chance to get used to the room you are playing in. Having a particular warm up song or piece that gets you in the mood is a brilliant hack if scales and intervals aren’t your jam.
Have a Goal in Mind
People use recording studios for all kinds of things from creating a memento to building a first single as a way to promote yourself as a musician. Knowing what you are here for is essential for the process to work.
Kids bands and musical companies often use studios to record an album that can be treasured for years to come. These albums are usually a bit rough and ready because the songs tend to be done in one take, but they are also hugely valuable as they bring a real sense of achievement. When the goal is to have fun in the studio, you need to make sure that this is the top priority and allow the sound to go just a little bit.
However, if you are recording a single to present to a producer, you will definitely have a different attitude altogether. In this case, you need to make sure that you are completely focused on the sound and willing to go again and again until you have what you are looking for. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun (you should!) just that your schedule will be a bit tighter and a lot more intense.
Recording for any reason is always a great experience to have as a musician as the microphone captures exactly what it hears. If you ever want a true glimpse of your musical talent, the studio can be an unforgiving space, but it can also bring the magic to your ears.