The feeling of being ready for your studio session will make you confident. It will create a focus on what’s important: your performance. So dispose of all the distracting stuff before getting into you recording session. You only have one source of energy – let’s use it with care.
There are 3 important topics that you should consider and double-check before you hit for your final tracks:
- the arrangement
- the bare necessities
1. The song
Determine a form of a song that you’re satisfied with. Often I see artists still making changes to their song while laying the final track. This is not only very time and energy-consuming, but it also has a huge impact on your performance.
The most common form for a song in modern popular music is Intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus, and outro.
It’s not a dogma, but definitely a good starting point to determine your custom form of a song. The best way to check the form of your song is to record it at home, with your phone or another simple device. And then listen to it the next day – you will be more objective than right after the recording. Taking a step back, leaving some space between playing and judging will have a positive effect on your creative process.
Set yourself a time slot to work on the form of your song and commit yourself to the best version. Your confidence will grow with your experience: the more you do it, the more you will discover your taste and create better statements for your music.
2. The arrangement
Make sure you have the arrangement up and ready before recording. There is nothing worse than adjusting the arrangement in the studio – you will lose so much valuable recording time! Some small adjustments might have to be made during the recording, but you want to get into the studio with a good and solid arrangement.
Get detailed with your arrangement. Check with your band how the parts sound in different settings and combinations; e.g. try just a singer with drums or just two guitars. Listen to how they complement each other and whether it’s satisfying. Also, try different combinations within your setup or band.
However, there is a limit to trying all sorts of variations. The golden rule is not to get lost in hundreds of different ideas that will make you feel overwhelmed. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!
After going through this process, establish the parts, commit to them and practice. Make sure that all the parts are performed well with regards to tuning, timing and the sound you prefer.
3. The bare necessities
So here you are, with your song and arrangement, all set for recording time!
You’re laying down the best track ever and then, right in the middle of it, your guitar string breaks. Then you find out that you don’t have a spare one and need to go find a music store nearby. I am telling you, your finest hour has gone forever!
It only takes a little effort to get this part done.
Prepare your instrument well. Tune
Make sure you have extra spare parts with you: snare drumhead, extra set of strings, reeds, batteries, cables, and other parts.
And most importantly: get a good night sleep before your studio date.
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but I am going to point it out anyway: it is all about your performance. Great performance is probably one of the most important reasons why you’re hitting for a studio session. People still listen to some hit records from 20 to 50 years ago, despite the sound quality or even mistakes in the performance. Yet, these are the songs that deliver a specific message, irreplaceable memories and unique feeling to listeners all over the world. This all begins and ends with the performance. Remove all obstacles and make it magical!
How do you prepare for a studio recording? Do you take care of removing all obstacles before hitting for the studio session? Are there any other things that can ensure a ‘magical’ performance in the studio?
Please share your experience in the comments below.