Its no secret that recording in a studio can at times be a daunting prospect, even for experienced musicians. Artists record their takes in isolation, usually whilst the rest of the band listens in another room. Everything is captured, mistakes and all. The recording process can feel unfamiliar. For singers, even the microphone that they’re singing in to is different from the type that they’re used to using live. All of these elements combine to create what can be a potentially uncomfortable environment.
Unfortunately, if the artist is not comfortable in the recording studio, they’re not likely to produce great takes. Luckily, there are several things that you can do to make your artists feel comfortable in the recording studio. Making your artists feel at ease in the studio is an essential part of achieving great recordings.
Custom monitor mixes to help musicians feel comfortable in the recording studio:
Making sure your artist has a great monitor mix is really important. If you’re recording a singer, do they want reverb on their voice in their monitors? If you’re recording a drummer, is the click track loud enough? Is the level of the backing track OK? Communicate with the musicians to find out exactly how they’d like their monitor mix to sound. In addition, be ready to adapt the mix to make sure that the artist has exactly what they need.
Positive working environment to help musicians feel at ease in the studio:
Maintaining a positive environment will go a long way to making artists feel comfortable in the recording studio. Keep your artists motivated and keep the mood upbeat. This helps to keep momentum and keep the artists focused on their parts. Communicate with the band about how you think the session is going. If you’ve been particularly pleased with certain parts of the recording then be sure to let the band know. Share with the band the things that you’re really happy with. This will instill confidence in the artists and help to keep morale high.
Take regular breaks to help musicians feel comfortable in the recording studio:
Don’t forget to take plenty of breaks, even when things are going well, but especially if things aren’t. It takes some judgement to decide when an artist needs a break. If they’re on a role then taking a break could loose momentum. But often, when a musician starts to feel fatigued, a break is probably required. Use your best judgement and ask the artist what they want to do. They’ll usually be able to tell whether they should continue for a few more takes or if they would benefit from stopping for a while.
Encouraging feedback to help musicians feel at home whilst recording:
Be sure to give encouraging feedback to your artists in-between takes. Be clear about which parts stood out as being really good in a take. Keep your artists informed on what is working really well in their takes and tactfully mention anything that isn’t. If things need to be improved, try to present this in a positive way. Its important to be honest with artists if something isn’t sounding how it should. But make sure this is done in an encouraging manner! Present it as something that could make the take even better to ensure that your artists feel really comfortable in the recording studio.
Not having too many people in the studio helps musicians feel more comfortable:
In my experience, too many people in the studio puts musicians on edge during takes. In many cases, even having all members of the band present at the studio can have a negative impact. Suggest that only certain members come to the studio at certain times. Musicians may already be nervous about getting their takes right. It makes it all the harder to try to get it right in front of lots of people. If you sense that a musician is nervous, tactfully suggest that some of the other band members take a break. Get them out of the studio for a while. As a result, the musician recording can work on their parts in a less pressured environment.
These small changes to your recording procedure will have a huge impact on making your artists feel more at home in the studio. Consequently, you should find that the musicians achieve much better takes. Have you discovered any techniques of your own that help musicians to feel more comfortable in the recording studio? Feel free to share them in the comments section.
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