5 Tips For Preparing Your Recording Studio SessionAug 05, 2021
I’m not going to lie … my very first time in a professional recording studio sucked!
I was beyond excited to go, but once I got there, intimidation stepped in. I floundered around and ended up kicking everyone out of the studio because I was so overwhelmed. In hindsight, I'm sure if I had prepared better, it would have been a much more positive experience -- and saved me a lot of money (and time!).
Almost all my students record regularly and are on some type of budget. Therefore, they don't have unlimited funds to spend on recording studio time. So, they must get in, produce an amazingly awesome recording, and get out.
And I want to help your first time be better than mine was. So, here are some tips that I give to my own students -- so they can be focused and efficient in the studio – that I think you’ll find quite helpful ...
#1. HAVE A WELL-THOUGHT-OUT PLAN.
Some singers like to book out students one day and try to get a full song/demo done during that time. Others want to block out an extended amount of time to get a whole EP or album done. However, it may be cheaper (short-term) to pay day by day. So, if you're planning to record a lot of music, you will probably get a discount the more time you book.
Whatever the case, before you walk through those studio doors, you should have a plan. You should have a goal and know exactly what you want to accomplish during your time there. When you get to the studio, are you recording live instruments or working with an already prepared track? For every instrument you plan to record, be ready to add extra time for setting up, tuning, levels, and tear down. Also, prepare for the inevitable inspiration burst or change of plans that come when you're in a creative space such as this.
As things get put together, often things change. Be prepared for that too!
In the end, being prepared with realistic expectations of what you can accomplish makes your time in the studio less hectic and definitely more fulfilling.
#2. FINISH YOUR SONGS BEFORE YOU GET THERE -- AND HAVE A DEMO.
A lot of big stars write their songs while they are in the studio.
But they usually have the budget to do so.
Coming into the studio without a finished idea will waste hours of your time and bleed your bank account. Do your best to have everything arranged (and written) before you get into the studio. Give your instrumentalists the music beforehand so they can practice.
As I mentioned before (and many other times in the past if you follow our blog and on social), a lot of times when you're in the studio inspiration will hit, and things may change a bit. But if you have a firm foundation of what the song is supposed to be before you record, you will have more time to make those inspired changes because the fundamentals of your piece have already been ironed out.
Most musicians have some sort of recording equipment at home. If yours do, have them play their parts and send them to you beforehand so you can hear how everything fits together. And if you don't already have recording equipment, you can easily set up a recording studio for under $300. Just a fraction of the cost you would spend on wasted studio time.
#3. MIXING AND MASTERING ARE NOT GOING TO SAVE YOUR SONG.
One of the things I hear most in the music studio is, "We'll fix it in post".
It is true … mixing and mastering can make things sound better. But it cannot make bad great. The better takes you get while you are in the studio, the better your recording will sound ... period.
While you are in the studio, make sure you like all the tones of your instruments, as well as the tone of your voice. Listen for any extraneous sounds such as *buzz* from an instrument or phlegm in your throat. If you hear these things, go back and re-record. Also make sure to listen that your recordings have the right energy and delivery. There is no way to make that better in post. Well ... actually, you can, but it will cost a beaucoup of moolah!
#4. BRING IN THE RIGHT PLUG-INS (AND FILES).
One of the best ways to save yourself some studio time is to have some things pre-recorded.
For example, guitars recorded by direct input and programmed drums don't have to be recorded in a professional studio. Also, bringing in any effects, tempos, samples, midi, click-tracks (etc.) with you will save tons of time.
Find out what program the studio you will be going to use ... Logic, ProTools, Ableton, etc. ... and make sure the files you bring will flow easily into their workflow. Doing this work before your session will keep everything working smoothly and flowing quickly.
#5. HAVE AN AWESOMELY ORGANIZED TO-DO LIST.
I ever so much LOVE making to-do lists for everyone in the studio. Making sure that they bring their equipment, the right cords, and amps. Warming up and tuning up is also on the list. Also, I like to have the engineer figure out the best type of mic for my voice -- before I get there. And depending on how many vocalists are recording -- and their type of voice -- there may need to be several different types of mics for each voice.
So, there you have it!!!
All the ins and outs to a great cost-effective first recording session!
Didn’t have an experience like I did when you go to the studio?
Being prepared is the first step -- and that will lead to a great session.
If you are a singer and want to learn how to better your singing voice and or get your name out there … feel free to comment below or hit me up by dropping me an email.