As an artist, recording multiple takes over and over again can be really draining. Especially so when you’re not only trying to give a great performance, but play a perfect take too. The same is true for the engineer who is recording the session. Fatigue can set in and make it tough to listen critically to the sounds that you’re capturing.
Let’s not forget to spare a thought for all of those musicians who record them selves in a home studio as well. Balancing the tasks of performing the music and capturing great recordings of it simultaneously can be taxing to say the least.
As such, its really important to take regular breaks when you record. But how often should you take a break during a recording session, and for how long? Well, there’s no hard and fast rule here. But I believe that there are two key instances which tell you that its time to take a break.
1. Take a break during a recording session if things ARE NOT going well:
The most obvious time that you need to take a break during a recording session is when things are not going so well. If you or the musician that you’re recording have tried several takes without success, then take a short break. Take 15 mins to get outside, get some fresh air and drink some water. Then come back to the recording session and make a fresh start. There’s nothing worse than slogging away and feeling as though you’re not getting anywhere. Taking a short breather should be enough to help you return to the recording feeling refreshed.
2. Take a break during a recording session if things ARE going well:
The second most important time to take a break during a recording session is when things are going well… Let me explain. I’m not suggesting that you down tools and break for lunch half way through a fantastic take because things are going just the way you’d like. But, when you’ve captured a few good takes in a row, its easy to want to keep going and going without stopping. You can easily convince your self that you’re on a roll. You fall into the trap of thinking that you need to take the opportunity to achieve as much as you can during this sudden winning streak, and that stopping would be a risk. Unfortunately, this approach will rarely pay off. Fatigue soon sets in when you’re not taking regular breaks and your run of good fortune will end. This really is the least sensible thing you can do if things are going well. It won’t help you get lots of great takes. Nor will it help you to finish your recording session any quicker.
Instead, the most sensible thing that you can do when a session is going really well is still to take regular breaks, even if its only 15 mins. Take the time to get some fresh air, to re-hydrate and to let your mind rest for a few mins. This really is the best way to keep the momentum going.
So, when should you take a break during a recording session?
As silly as it sounds, there are two important times when you need to take a break during a recording session. Take a break when things aren’t going well. Then, take a break even when things are going well.
If things just aren’t working out during the session, then take a break and come back feeling refreshed. When things are going great, take a break at a point during the recording session that makes sense. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to keep going because things are going so well. This will almost always result in the least productive day’s recording.
Taking breaks is the only way that you’ll be able to pace yourself throughout a whole day of recording. Take short breaks to get fresh air, to drink plenty of water and to stretch. This will undoubtedly help you get the most out of your recording sessions.
Have you ever experienced this? How often do you take breaks during recording sessions? Do you break more often when you record your self than when you’re recording with a producer? Share your thoughts below.
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