Performing live, in front of screaming fans, is vastly different from recording music for CDs, streaming or for digital download. To begin with, the atmosphere, energy and momentum present during a live performance is absent when you are in the cold ambits of a studio, where the only audience is the people entrusted with recording you.
If you are preparing to have a great recording career, these are just a few of the things pointed out by the pros on my team that you need to come to terms with at an early stage, in addition to making strategic decisions to ensure high-quality recorded music and streaming sessions every time. Here are five tips to keep in mind before recording:
Invest in Good Production
The act of producing music involves putting together all the parts that should make for a composition that is pleasing to the ear. A well-produced song will be balanced in terms of pitch, rhythm, harmony, and melody, as well as help to make your voice sound as good electronically as it does when you are singing live. However, finding a reputable recording studio that offers professional music production has become more challenging and costly over the years. This has resulted in some songwriters and artists turning to DIY procedures and sub-standard methods of recording, but these often result in songs that are simply below par. Thankfully, online music recording studios are now available, making it possible for you to invest in professional song production while avoiding the high costs of using traditional music studios.
If you visit a physical recording studio to record vocals, for instance, where you’ll be paying for studio time, you want to do your vocal warmups and practice your lyrics beforehand, so you won’t spend time on these before actually recording. At least one music professional agrees on the importance of being prepared. Arden Kaywin, a voice teacher and vocal producer of note, pointed out in an article how it’s possible to waste an hour or more of a recording session on just warming up the vocals.
If you’re using a home recording setup, the same advice applies. While you will be able to do multiple takes using a home set up without worrying about the cost, you still want to prepare as much as possible so you won’t stay stuck on one recording for too long.
Visualize an Audience
It is easy to feed off the energy of an adoring crowd, especially if they are appreciative of all that you’re offering in that moment in time. If you can visualize that while you’re standing in a studio, or even collaborating online with session musicians, then you are more likely to express yourself in a way that can connect with a listener who will buy your CD, or EP, or stream your music. Visualizing an audience can influence you to sound more believable and passionate.
Get Voice Training
Having a great voice does not necessarily mean you’re ready for live recordings. No matter how naturally-gifted you are, getting vocal training can enhance your ability to pitch your voice correctly, stay on key, have the stamina to hold certain notes, and maintain breath control while singing. As some of the session singers on my team have attested to, failure to get it right vocally may cause you to waste a lot of time in studio trying to sound good on record, and may even result in auto tune being used to cover up blemishes. Many listeners will not take your talent seriously if auto tune is used excessively or if your recording sounds off key, so getting professional voice training is highly recommended. Besides, studies, including a 2011 report by E. Glenn Schellenberg, suggest that taking voice and other music-related lessons can increase one’s IQ, as well as speaking and communication skills, so that’s another good benefit.
Use a Suitable Microphone
Regardless of their quality, microphones do not come standard and can affect the quality of your voice, positively or negatively. Ensure that the mic you are using complements the tone and sound of your voice so that you get the very best in clarity and mellowness when recording your tracks. There are literally hundreds of microphones on the market, so finding the right one for you might take a bit of research. Generally speaking, condenser mics are highly recommended for recording vocals. A few that are well-reviewed online and pretty popular among some of our session singers, I might add, include the Shure SM57, SM58, and SM-27-SC, the MXL 770, and the Rode NTK. Feel free to research other blogs and websites that feature/review audio production equipment.
A recording that sounds great can make all the difference when you’re ready to share your music with the world. While there are music distribution companies, such as Symphonic Distribution, and platforms that can help share your songs, the quality of the recording is what will really connect with listeners. Use these tips to ensure your music recordings are of top-notch quality.