The recording studio can be a very expensive place, especially when it is your first time.   Here are some tips on being efficient, keeping the cost down, laying down your best vocal track and of course having fun.

  1. PREPARE!! Know your songs backwards and forwards.  Ask yourself: How many tracks are you recording?  What are they for?  Don’t say you are doing 10 songs if you only really know 5.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
  2. SOUND! Whether covering a song or bringing in your original, know what sound/style you want.  Are you rock, pop, jazz, electronica…etc.
  3. Do you have your own band or do you need to hire session players? Studios will sometimes offer you session players, but it will be more expensive.  If you know your own group of people that can record with you, it will be cheaper and you will feel more comfortable with your friends around.
  4. Check your equipment!  If you are bringing in your own instrument make sure it is in its best condition.  Do you need new strings?  Are you in tune?  If my guitars need a tune-up I bring them to David Neely.  He’s the best guy in LA for guitar repairs and restorations.
  5. REHEARSE!  If you have your own band, then practice!!  Know what you want where.
  6. If you are having session players, you will need charts.  I am sure they can do a lot by ear, but you should always have charts of your songs.
  7. VOCALS!  Go over your songs with your teacher.  Do your warmups.  Figure out any harmonies you might want.
  8. Meet with the producer in the studio first.  See if you like him and see if he understands what you want.  Do you like the studio?
  9. Bring snacks and plenty of water with you.  Normally you break for lunch, but in case you need some fuel bring some fruit or a power bar.
  10. Turn off your cell phone!  This is not a time for facebook, texting, or emailing.  To truly get the best out of your time there, you need to focus on the song and what you are doing.
  11. Stay positive during your sessions.  You might not always like a vocal take, or how the drums or guitar sounds.  It is exhausting and frustrating at times, so it’s important to be honest with the musicians and producer.  Don’t get talked into something you don’t like.  Keep the lines of communication open.  Don’t be afraid to say, “No, I don’t like that.”
  12. Be on time and respect the studio.  If they have certain rules, follow them.