How to Prep for your Time in the Studio
By Glenn Sawyer
Hi Guys, my name is Glenn Sawyer and I’m a producer at The Spot Studios which I recently opened with my production partner Rich Veltrop. Between Rich and I we have seen just about everything you could imagine go on in the studio and we have managed to accumulate a little bit of wisdom about how to streamline the process and kept things running smoothly. Although, we know plenty of tricks to make this happen it always seems like the smoothest sessions are the one where the band or artist comes in fully prepared so I’ve put together a list of eight things you can do before coming to the studio to ensure you get the most out of your studio time.
- Write before you get to the studio – Although the studio is definitely a great place to be creative, it’s always better to be done with the bulk of the writing process before you enter the studio. Writing can take a lot of time and it’s always a shame when an artist or band is spending half of the day writing parts when they could be recording them.
- Practice, Practice, Practice – This goes hand in hand with number one. The tighter you and you’re band are the easier it will be to get a quality recording done. It’s that simple.
- Practice playing with a metronome – This is something I can’t stress enough. Modern production centers around precision and playing to a click is something a professional recording musician can’t avoid. I know it sucks, I know it’s annoying, but at the end of the day practicing to a click will make you a better musician and it will be way easier when we insist that you play to it while you record.
- Restring your instruments, Re-head your drums, etc. – This is another one of those things that seems obvious but is often overlooked. When you really think about it it’s a no-brainer. You’re spending a lot of money to make something that you will hopefully be listening to for years to come. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be thinking about how old my strings or drum heads sound every time I put on my album for the rest of my life.
- Figure out your tempos before you enter the studio – This goes hand in hand with number one. By figuring out your tempos before you go to the studio you are saving time, which means more time for being creative after all the basic tracks are done.
- 6. Chart out your songs and bring lyric sheets – This is another one of those things that can help you to save a lot of time when you are in a session. Rather than having to consult other band members about whether a chord or lyric is right it’s right there for you (and us). This is especially handy when you are working with session musicians who aren’t familiar with your music.
- 7. Be prepared to make mistakes – Working in the studio is a very different experience than rehearsing and playing live. When you are working in the studio you are trying to capture the very best performance possible for each part. Depending on the part this can be very difficult and you should be prepared to make mistakes. Rather than getting frustrated that you made a mistake you have to just keep chugging along into you get it. There’s no shame in making mistakes in the studio!
- 8. Be Serious but not too Serious – Music is a very personal thing so it’s natural to be serious about it, but you have to make sure you have fun at the same time. Being in the studio is a treat and it’s always good to take time to step back and appreciate the process!
Anyhow, hopefully these tips and tricks will come in handy the next time you’re in the studio and things will run a little bit smoother!
Author Bio: Glenn Sawyer is a producer and part owner at The Spot Studios in Lakewood, Co. The Spot is a destination-recording studio featuring the production talents of Glenn and his production partner Rich Veltrop. You can find out more about the studio and Rich and Glenn by going to www.thespotstudios.com. Feel free to contact Glenn directly at [email protected] or by phone at (303)-988-2170.