How to Prepare for Success in the Recording Studio
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
The time has come, your band is ready for the world to hear the creative vision that you have been working on for so long! You've booked your first session and you're eagerly waiting! Are you really prepared to make the best of what could potentially put your band on the map?
If this is your first time entering the recording studio then there are some things your probably not thinking of. Being prepared can tremendously improve the success of your session and possible save you a ton of cash!
Learn your Material
In most cases, studios charge by the hour. Whether the issue is not having the material completely written or just not having your part 100% down, both can really rack up additional time and can cost you more than you were anticipating to pay. Every member needs to make the effort to fully learn and memorize their parts. This alone will save time and provide a more consistent sound when tracking. This is especially important when it comes to the vocalist as lyrics play a massive role in the success of song. Writing them in the studio can delay the process and lead to a rushed result you may not be happy with in the long run. Writing your lyrics and melodies in advance will not only give you more confidence while tracking, but also more time to write harmonies, as harmonies are primarily written only in the studio. Learning your material requires dedication and is not only preferable but necessary.
Maintenance your Gear
Your instruments and equipment should be just as prepared as you are. Properly maintaining your instruments and gear can make a world of difference. Not having your equipment properly maintained can and will wreak havoc on the quality of the recording.
Guitars and Bass
Have a professional set up it up.
Proper string gauge for tuning
Tighten input jack
Tighten tuning pegs
Truss rod adjustment
Replace and tune new heads
Fix squeaky cymbal stands
Replace cracked cymbals
Replace worn sleeves and felts
Oil kick pedal and hi hat stand
Bring plenty of sticks
This equipment is something you should always have prepared whether its for practice, a live gig or the studio. You may feel that you have everything packed and ready to go but it is very important to take some time to get these things in order too. Having a checklist to use while packing up ensures you're never stuck in a sticky situation.
Instrument cables in good condition
9v batteries for pedals
Power supply for pedal board
Working patch cables for pedals
Pre-production, commonly referred to as "pre pro" is a crucial step many new artists don't take. This is the perfect time to experiment to find the right tempo, key and structure for each song. This will make sure you are all on the same page creatively and give you a plan to follow while in the production process. Recording rough demos or scratch tracks is common during this stage to allow your self to listen back and hear things you normally don't notice while playing live. There are many ways to accomplish this, some as simple as audio clips on your cell phone or as complex as fully tracked demos using an inexpensive interface, a free DAW(digital audio workstation) and programmed drums.
Click Track/ Metronome
Figuring out the tempo of your song(s) or creating a tempo map if you have tempo changes, not only helps in the session set up process, but it allows you to practice playing to a click track. Practicing along with a metronome or a click track will improve your consistency while tracking multiple takes. This will save you tons of time! Often times artists come in with little to no experience playing to a click track. This is an invaluable tool that will help you not only in the studio but for live performances as well.
Look guys, I know we have been talking about all this detailed preparation and your probably feeling overwhelmed. DON'T! This is supposed to be a fun experience. Whether its your first time or your 50th, its still going to be an experience you'll never forget. Take your time to get prepared the way you need to but also take time to just breathe it in and get excited! Take photos and videos to capture some of the memories, you'll want to look back at them later. Feel free to share your excitement in the comments below and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.
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