Be studio ready
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
In order to have a favorable experience at your recording session, it is important you are well prepared to ensure your time in the studio is efficient, productive, and delivers the quality product you are striving for. Here are some preparation tips and recommendations that will help you better manage the process.
Obtain feedback from several sources on your song well before your recording date is booked
Arrive early and well prepared. Your time will start in most studios whether you are there or not.
Only bring people with you that are part of the recording process. Otherwise, there will be too many distractions, and you will lose time and money. Also, let anyone know that is coming that only you are communicating with the recording engineers as people can come up with new ideas that redirect the song, and that will result added time and money.
Check in with groups of listeners to see if people can understand the song and what it is about.
Make sure the listeners can clearly hear your lyrics.
Know the songs inside and out musically, vocally and instrumentally.
Make sure the song has some hooks and catchy melodies and isn't too repetitive, and is a song you would want to keep listening to over and over again.
Make sure your instruments are working properly and bring extra drum sticks and guitar strings. If you're a singer, bring plenty of room-temperature water. If you’re singing for a longer vocal session, consider bringing tea or honey. If you're a guitar player, add new strings if they are needed and tune your instrument well ahead of time.
Try to make a rough, demo recording of your chosen songs before you arrive to the studio. This could be on a tape recorder, GarageBand, iPhone app, or similar. Then listen to it and do your own self critique.
If it is possible, communicate with the engineers ahead of time, so they have an understanding of what is needed to meet your recording goals. This will help you achieve the best possible results.
During the session, take breaks often (especially if you are a singer) so you don’t over exert yourself. Although you may think 3 or 4 breaks is a waste of time, it will help you tremendously in getting the right vocal quality you are looking for.
Make sure the drummer practices with a metronome, or “click-track,” as he/she will be deciding the tempo (speed) of the song.
For singers make sure you practice the song a lot and sing it at least 100 times before proceeding to the studio.
If you are recording with your band, have a band meeting before the recording and run through the recording schedule and organize a mock recording. This will smooth things out and everyone will know each other's role in the process.
Make sure you create a recording schedule so you are well organized in the studio.
Make sure you work on backup vocals before the recording session and have them included on the schedule. Also, having the back up vocals outlined in writing will help you be more organized and will ensure you won't forget any. Over do the back up vocals as you can always delete the ones you don't want included.
Many artists will hire session musicians to help them on added instrumentals. If you hire friends make sure they are dependable and will show up prepared and on time. If you contact the studio or other areas studios, most will have session musicians for hire you can contact. Rates can vary from $50-$200+ for the session. It depends on how much preparation time to learn the music is required, and how much time is needed for the recording.
Artists on the Move recommends
you obtain at least three recording rates, so you can verify the overall costs are manageable and rates quoted are competitive. There are many different level studios so ask them what equipment they use and ask for a link to their portfolio. Many will have online references you can check out also.
It is far too common for us to hear that an artist has a friend or someone who saw them perform that offers to record their song for free. Be cautious here as they may want to be included in the song's income streams. You simple need to question why anyone would do the work for free unless they want a financial benefit from the song's earned income. If you wrote the song on your own you own it, and if you wrote it with a band/group the ownership structure should be determined before you head to the recording studio.