Preparing for Your Session

Lots of advice can be given in regards to making sure your session goes as well as you plan. There are a number of things to think about even before entering the studio:

  1. Practice. Even before planning it's practice; and a little more practice is always advisable. Musicians - as well as producers and engineers - all feel better going into a session being comfortable with the material. Even professionals hear the music and play it to the producer's satisfaction before ever going in to record, whenever possible. Freestyle and improvisation are wonderful things, but work better with practice.

  2. Planning is always important and even moreso when you are working with a budget. Artists have a vision they are trying to fulfill and it is easier to meet the expectations of an artist (or a record company for that matter) by proper planning. What Rhythm Tracks go first? When do the back up Vocalists arrive. How much time did you budget for the Xylophone solo? These questions constantly come up when they're actually quite easy to figure out with a little planning. Make a plan that suits you and your group and try to stick to it (but remain ready to make changes for the good of the project).

  3. The Bigger Picture. When you have the physical copy of your song, you'll likely listen to it a lot. You will want it to be the best it can be for you and thesuccess of the song. Therefore, if the guitar player is a better bass player, than the bass player, and can do the part in half the time and sound twice as good … Then even though you guys are best friends, and play the songs that way live, you may want to think of the greater good when it comes to the recording session.

  4. Technical Issues. It's our job as engineers to ensure a great recording and we are responsible for making sure all of our gear is in the best possible condition at all times. On the other hand, it is vital to your budget and our time that you make sure you're satisfied with the quality of things like the strings of your instrument before coming in to record. Your instrument has been properly intonated, it will hold a tuning, amplifiers aren't humming due to bad tubes, extra reeds if you play wind, and extra strings if they tend to break.

Keeping all of this in mind, it is important to remember that music does not always flow in a linear fashion. Sometimes, we just have to go with the flow.