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Tips for Studio Recording?

Discussion in 'General' started by pianoman342, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Next week, as part of a music/book project I am working on, (I will post more about it later) I am planning on recording on a big grand piano in a professional music studio next week. :p I have been practicing for at least an hour a day and was wondering if anybody has any advice about playing in a studio. I've heard it's important to get a good nights rest the day before, practice hard, arrive early, yada yada yada :lol: Anything else?!
     
  2. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi, Riley. I didn't record in a studio per se, rather a large concert hall, but I'm sure my suggestions would still apply. Get there in advance: you don't want to be rushing about and stressing about anything beforehand. This may also give you time to do a five minute warmup: I would definitely recommend this; just do whatever you do usually to get the feel of the piano and relax your hands. Something unanticipated WILL probably happen, accept this in advance and don't panic if it does! In my case it was that the hall induction loop for hearing aids had been left on and affected the mics until it was sorted, and that one of the windows was half-open and a blind was flapping occasionally in the wind. I wouldn't eat heavily beforehand: it makes me feel sluggish at the piano. Before performing I usually eat the bare minimum so that I'm not hungry, and I take some fruit juice with me in case I feel like refreshment during breaks in the recording session. Don't worry about the equipment, leave the worrying to whoever is doing the recording - that's their job, your job is to focus on the playing and nothing else. Make sure the pedals have been checked - squeaking pedals are such a no-no.
     
  3. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Andrew,

    This helps a lot, thanks. I usually run a few scales before practicing, in the keys of the pieces. Some trills and a few arpeggios. About the food, I'll try to eat a light breakfast. I think David said somewhere that drinking coffee is a no-no, I'll have to save myself from my daily java.. :( I'll have to bring some juice, or maybe water. I hope I don't sweat so much that I really need to drink so much to replenish my bodies water... :lol: But I think it should be relaxed. Maybe I should ask the engineer for a reduction in price if the pedals are squeaky... :wink:
     
  4. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    Hi Riley,

    I hope this comes in time -- if you already did your studio day, please share how it went :)

    I would say, do whatever you normally do. Sleep your normal schedule, drink coffee if you normally drink coffee, etc. You want to feel as normal as possible in the abnormal situation. Just as if it were a performance.

    The most important thing about work in the studio is to allow time. Plan enough time for at least 10 takes of each piece. That's not counting time for mixing/editing if you plan to do that the same day. Feeling rushed in there is not fun.
     
  5. pianoman342

    pianoman342 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    @ Heather

    No, it was overdue, but thanks anyway, I'll use it for future reference :)

    My day at the studio was kind of an eye-opening experience. Slept well the night before and only ate the minimum the day of. The day of: I tried to get there about 30 minutes early, but I had trouble finding the place. The recording engineer who also owns the studio said it was right next to the subway, a glass building, but there were many glass buildings! And he said right by an overpass, unfortunately there were many of those too :x Eventually, I had to call him and he kindly gave me step by step instructions on how to get there! I got there alright and entered the studio. It was a perfect temperature, needless to say, I was relieved. I was afraid I was going to have to play on some cold stage. There were two pianos a big Yamaha C3 and a Yamaha Upright and a big videocamera trained on the Grand. He sat me down (there was a nice couch next to the big recording console were he sat and showed me a video of a recording session the day before. There was a young lad who played Chopin's Op. 10 in C Major flawlessly. :shock: This studio is normally for recording demo tapes for students auditioning for piano competitions, but why not me? :p The engineer offered me coffee or tea and I took the tea. I was actually kind of surprised he offered me coffee, as David said somewhere on this forum it is not good for players because it gives the jitters. Maybe one cup is ok?

    I tried out my first piece "Stories of a Century" on both pianos and then decided to play it on the Upright as I did not find the action of the grand as responsive (or should I say expressive) as the upright. I was ready, he told me when he was recording and that I should start whenever I wanted. I played through the piece and then sat on the couch and talked the engineer through some editing. He was very experienced as he could guess a lot of the "fixes" I wanted to have done. Then I played the second piece and third piece on the grand.

    Well, I agree, taking time is a good plan of action. Provided, as time will allow. As was the case for me, there was literally no break time. I wasn't stressed out, all that much. But, adjusting to the pianos was a challenge and I wish I had more time to try different things. I had one hour to record the pieces and get out of there. Typically studio time costs a lot, from what I gather. I payed about 80 dollars, but $120 or more is normal I think. When every minute literally costs you a few bucks, you really have to force yourself to focus! What I suspect is, for most recording artists, the labels will have tons of money budgeted towards the artists for studio time. They can take breaks if they like, no big deal. And they probably get discounts for extended hours. It sure would be nice to have a good 30 minutes free to run through the pieces on the studio pianos before that timecard clock starts ticking.. :wink: But alas, I suppose you really just have to make the best of it. :)
     

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