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5 Ways to Make Your Next Recording Session a Success


Whether recording an album or simply putting together a demo to shop songs around, entering the recording studio is a quintessential step for any professional songwriter. But studio time can be expensive. Without a plan, your limited time in the studio will very quickly slip away from you with little to show for it. Thankfully, there are simple measures that can be taken to help you make the most of every minute you have in the studio.

The following are 5 easy ways to turn your recording sessions from a nightmare to one of the most beneficial events in your songwriting career:

1. Prepare studio versions of your songs

There is a big difference between the studio version of a song and the version of that same song you use to perform live. Before you enter the studio, you should sketch out the songs and arrangements, making sure each is a tight and succinct representation of the song you’ve written. Not only will this save you time in the studio, but this is especially important if you are attempting to write music to be shopped for licensing and/or sync opportunities.

Believe it or not, someone has to listen to all of the music they are sent to determine if it is right for their project. If you record some open ended, 7-minute sloppy mess, you can be sure your song will be looked over.

2. Set goals for studio time

We’ve already determined that it is to your benefit to make sure you’re optimizing the precious little amount of time you’ve got within the studio, and setting goals for your studio time is quite possibly the most important way to do this.

This will help you to take a step back and forget about trying to shoot for recording everything in your repetuiar in a single day’s session. Pick one or two tracks to work on for a day (or 2 days) and then make a ‘what if’ plan should you actually get both songs done with extra time. It is amazing how many artists think they’ll be able to pull off 10 songs in a day – even though a song may only be three minutes only, it could take three hours (or far more) to record.

3. Take your tracks to a professional for the mastering process

Although mixing may be able to be done within a recording studio, mastering is a very specialized skill and should be approached separately from the recording process. The idea here is that by taking the mastering out of the equation for your limited studio time, even if you are offered mastering by the studio or engineer, you are focusing in one what is important – achieving your goals in the recording process.

This may not be the most inexpensive option, but you will see far better results for the investment you put in than you would trying to get everything done at one time.

4. Don’t forget to eat!

This one isn’t a glamorous suggestion, but it is one of the most critical steps to success. Maintaining a healthy diet is an incredibly important part of a good performance and a high-quality recording. Eat a solid breakfast before you begin and your final product will shine because of it.

5. Choose the right studio

Studios and their engineers typically work with a certain style or selection of styles of music, which will greatly influence the ultimate sound style and direction of the recordings. This is something you need to greatly consider before picking a studio, as a studio known for classical work won’t do you any good when recording a hip-hop song. Likewise, a studio that mainly works with electronic productions will be a poor environment to record a selection of acoustic-folk songs.

What tips do you suggest for songwriters trying to make the most of their next recording session?

Please leave us any and all suggestions in the form of a comment below so that we can all be sure to make the most of our next recording project.

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10 thoughts on “5 Ways to Make Your Next Recording Session a Success

  1. Great words to live by in the studio plan plan plan plan.. Theres nothing worse then going to record a song with someone who thinks their going to write to the beat in the studio. Keep it figured out and planned all the way down the last adlib.


    2. Absolutely agree – a mistake many novices make is to go in and ‘wing it’ thinking they will have a great product. That is almost never the case. Thanks for reading!

  2. as a rapper turned audio student & engineer.. i couldnt agree with this more! i dont even allow people to come record with me if they think they’re coming to write or freestyle some shit… people shouldnt waste their time trying to fly by eye in the studio.. it hardly ever works

    1. Thanks for reading! Glad you agree with it – its refreshing to hear a rapper with this take on it!  The lil’ wayne, ‘freestyle everything’ approach rarely ever works yet so many artists think they can pull it off. It sounds sloppy in almost every instance – rehearse and prevail! 

      Thanks again!

  3. I’ve been playing around with recording on my own before heading to the studio. Despite the hassles of recording on your own, I think it builds a better understanding and organization of how you approach going into a studio.

    Doing it yourself, first, also reveals problems in your equipment. Until I was mixing my band, I didn’t hear my bass coming out distorted, the guitar having a weird buzzing sound, and the drums ringing at an uncomfortable frequency.

    Also, before hitting the studio, your band should be well rehearsed and warmed up. Don’t take a few weeks off of rehearsing and then jump into the studio. I just did that. My hands cramped and my vocals were weak sauce.

    1. Thanks Seth! Awesome suggestions.

    2. Hey Seth! Glad to see you commenting here. Absolutely agree with you about making sure you are rehearsed and ready to go. 

  4. Also very helpful to designate one person as spokesperson for your band…someone who knows the direction of your project to communicate with the engineer.  Having one chef in the kitchen makes for a tasty mix! 

  5. […] cost of studio time ranges too greatly (anywhere from $100 to $1000 per hour or even more!) to give an estimate cost […]

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