Top 5 Tips
tip one… a smile goes a thousand miles
It makes no difference if you are running the project or just dropping in to add a recording texture, from vocalist, to assistant engineer, music producer, session drummer – one way or another, everyone takes a big or small part in the rehearsal process. Therefore, it is important for us to enable a happy and positive environment so that everyone is comfortable in sharing their creative ideas.
Recording studio environments can be a bombardment of important information, literally juggling countless things.. Plus with so many creative individuals in one place, it can be challenging to hear everyone’s valuable input or concerns, or if you are trying to focus on leading a project you may be finding it difficult to simply action your intended creative recording direction, with lots of positive yet potential distractions.
If we’re leading a recording or rehearsal, it’s important our artistic visions are heard and enabled in the most positive and time efficient way. Consider every artist’s strengths and weaknesses aiming to manage things in a sensitive and positive way – happy expansive creative minds make great music.
It could help if we see a recording process or rehearsal session as a collaborative process where everybody’s contribution is valued and that is what makes the final product come alive.
tip two… be ready for hiccups
‘Reading the room’ – being ready and quick to respond to any need that emerges is crucial for the successful running of a recording session. Sometimes there can be no verbal communication, but the band members already know what needs to be done.
There has to be a plan put into place before a recording session or rehearsal can even start. Examples can vary from getting a simple glass of water for a singer, to having extra guitar picks or extra equipment in case of tech hiccups. Dare we mention the obvious which is often left off the list… are there enough music stands! 🙂
In a studio environment the phrase ‘time is money’ really does have extra weight. Remember whoever is leading the recording / rehearsal session may be under financial pressure – things need to be done quickly, or smoothly, therefore do everything you can to help in this way.
- Prepare, learn your part!
- Never cancel last minute (unless you really are ill)
- Arrive early, not on the dot, and definitely never late, as could imply you may not care…
- Reputation is everything in our freelance, self-employed world.
- Take extra layers, maybe cold – or way too hot!
- If it’s a long day, provide or make sure access to snacks, food, water, hot drinks are available for all… food provides energy and smiles, which helps creatively for all.
- Remember every colleague on a single job may become a colleague throughout your working life, you can easily bump into everyone again in our interconnected world of music. Never burn professional bridges, as it’s impossible to know which colleagues may be influencing your working life in the future, or even become your greatest friends!
tip three… it’s okay not to be okay
There are days when some of us musicians might not feel their best in a rehearsal session. We are all dealing with different sensations, such as lack of self-confidence, motivation, sensitivities. And that is okay. Sometimes all it takes is to listen to your colleague and see what troubles them and in that way to build a safe and creative environment.
Creativity can be an emotional process, when we care deeply about our artistic output, and it’s important that we all support each other in this valuable journey.
tip four… preparing for recording, learn your part
When you get to a rehearsal or recording session, you expect everyone to know their part as it’s not a good look to be learning notes in public.. When preparing, consider to focus on, and nail those tricky corners so you’re well prepared when you meet your studio/rehearsal colleagues. Plus, it’s always fun to throw out some mind-blowing technique as though you’re reading it ‘off-the-cuff’ 🙂
tip five… be your own best critic
Whenever you can, record yourself! Get used to the process of enjoying playing, performing, and then afterwards listening and observing what and who you can improve.
When you know what you need to practise more, you will save a lot of time in the rehearsal space for yourself and others.
And finally… enjoy the process
Music is an amazing environment, an exploration of sound, and technique, and a place to communicate valuable moments in time, both with and to people – it’s pretty precious stuff – enjoy the process and value everyone you’re working with!