Being in a recording studio is nothing like being in front of an audience. It’s a sterile environment; there’s no audience or applause and often the musicians are in separate rooms from eachother. If you’re accustomed to performing for people and with people in close physical proximity to you (like most musicians), being in the studio is a totally foreign place. As you can imagine, that environment is not super conducive to creativity, which means you have to take extra measures to put yourself in the creative space. For example:
I made my first record in 2006 (that’s Champian with David Berger & the Sultans of Swing). I had very little studio experience at that time and on the very first day my booth was close to Dennis Irwin’s booth (the famous Jazz bassist, read about him here). I looked over and I saw Dennis setting up his area – bottles of water, tools for stretching, little knick-knacks. He was really making that space his own. I was curious and asked him about it, and he told me he was doing just that, getting comfortable for the day, and then he advised me to stay hydrated, snack a little, and to wear my headphones only on one ear (totally helps you hear better).
I learned a lot in the studio that day and every day in the studio since. For me drinking lots of water and snacking are absolutely necessary, but I’ve also learned that I need to dress for a gig (NOT in jeans or a t-shirt like that day in 2006, HAHAH, wearing jeans does not make me creative), not listen to too many playbacks (it just zaps my energy and I think it’s a waste of time), to keep things moving along and not get bogged down in takes, and most of all to keep everyone having fun.
There are tons of blog posts online with tips for a good day in the studio (super obvious ones mostly, like BE PREPARED. duh.) but I’m curious about stories and tips from my fellow musicians, of ANY genre. Please write to me in the comments!