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Pre-production
Will Griffin

To get ready for your first session.

    If you are singing, know your songs completely. Be able to sing them without mistakes, preferably "a capella" several times each day before the session date. If someone is singing your song, make sure you have gone over the song and gotten to know the singer, so that they can get into character and sing your song, giving it every bit of feeling and expression you had, when you wrote it.

    Donít strain your voice and don't constantly rehearse, because you'll quickly become too mechanical, stale and boring. If youíre not used to singing, donít sing more than three or four songs total each day. Increase one song a day weekly. Start well ahead of your session.

    If you are recording with members of your own band (All being AFM union members), make sure youíve rehearsed well enough, but not over-rehearsed and under pressure, because this will take much away from capturing a groove and the expressive feelings contained in the material. The studio can be a more difficult place to play than the stage. Know your material as well as you can, youíll save time and money. If you and most of your band have never recorded before, it may prove wise to hire a "session leader" musician who has more experience and who will help this session to be as productive, educational and as professional as is possible.

    Get plenty of sleep the night before. Donít be hung-over, drunk or drugged.

    Have a copy of the words ready no matter how well you know the song. It may be useful to the producer as well.

    Spend what is called: "pre-production" time with your producer or your session leader. You will outline the way the session will run, which material first (priorities), general arrangements for each song, which musicians, which background singers, which studio, and by doing so, you'll generally save time at the session.

    Make sure you have done your homework. Be sure youíve shopped well. By the day of the session, you should have listened to several demos and/or masters by the producer. You should have talked to some of their clients. You should know who the engineer is, you should know who the musicians are and what all they've done. Know how much your demo or recording will cost in total. Cheap demos arenít always bad; itís just more likely that they will be and in these cases cheap demos can be a waste of money, time and efforts. Knowledge like this can help you reach a comfort zone, which in turn, will lead you to a better recording.


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