I don’t usually share this kind of thing here, but I was really happy with the way that the remix I did for south african artist Vian Izak’s song “Revolver” turned out.
I’ve been working hard on my producing skills over the last month, and I’ve come to a few quick things that have really helped my productions shine:
I didn’t write a blog on Wednesday like I have every week for the last 3 years because I was lucky enough to be playing my first recording session in Nashville! It was a very informal writing/recording job, but I had an absolute blast working with another creatively like-minded musician here in music city. Here are 5 things I learned on the job:
It never fails- it’s always the thing that I’m hunting for in my gear bag that I’ve left at home. Perhaps that’s why I’ve become a list nazi when it comes time to pack my gear. Here’s 7 things that always make my list no matter what gig I’m doing:
I’ve been working hard to tweak my practice technique to prep myself better for the studio. Here are some ways I've found to get better at prepping yourself for recording:
1. Start slow. I’ve been starting playing my music at a speed that is just too fast to be accurate. When I slowed down my playing, it was amazing how the songs didn’t have as many mistakes “baked in” that I had to fix later.
2. Shoot for high accuracy from the beginning. Don’t settle for sloppy playing, even when you’re first working it up. Personally, I’m shooting for about 95% accuracy after the first couple of runs, and if I’m not at that level, I’m slowing it down.
3. Work the trouble spots. Don’t play through the whole song every time you practice. Spend some time working out the trouble spots early, and you’ll save tons of time in the long-run.
4. Track your speeds. Write down each practice what your speed is on your song (use a metronome). Remember, accuracy is more important than speed.
5. Record yourself. Use an iPhone or a cheap recorder. If it makes you take it more seriously, post your recording to Facebook. Just remember: it’s more about practicing recording than actually making high-quality recordings of yourself.
6. Practice concentrating. It sounds simple, but I realized that I wasn’t “grooving” my performance technique be fully concentrating during practices. Also, I was practicing in a different state of mind than I was performing in, which means I wasn't really preparing for performance correctly.
Start trying to get yourself in the same frame of mind while practicing as you are when you're performing. It may leave you a bit more fatigued at the end of practice sessions at first, but ultimately it’ll build what you need to play consistently.
While I’m still getting started working as a studio sideman, I’ve been lucky enough to talk with musicians that have worked with Chris Tomlin, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Matt Redman, and Keith Urban. Here’s what I’ve learned from them: