Two years ago I decided to professionally record 6 of my songs. I got a recommendation from a friend of mine named Dave Burns about a producer he had recently worked with to record an album by the name of Stephen Bigger He is the owner of a studio called RockArbor Music. I have never worked with a professional producer before, so this was a huge learning curve for me, and I have learned a lot. He helped me format my tunes, and assisted me in hiring a couple of studio musicians to lay down the tracks. I hired Zack Kirk Olsen on drums and Dan Robbins on bass- both amazing players and worth every penny. We did all six tunes in a day, with me playing a guide track along with them. I would later re-record my rhythm tracks, do vocals (as did Angela and Larry Albright from our former band), and then do lead guitar work, Stephen is very talented musician and in addition to being a great producer, and played keys on several tunes. I averaged completing one song every four months. It’s the best I could do with the rest of my commitments, and working with other people’s schedules.
As previously mentioned, I learned a lot. Here are some of my takeaways:
It’s worth it working with a professional. Stephen has a great ears and could hear things I couldn’t and offered great, informed feedback on arrangements, instrumentation, singing tips and preparedness for the studio. He also had a vested interest in making my songs sound good as they represented his work.
Studio work is difficult, but do-able. Rehearsing parts and thinking through sounds helps with making the most of recording time. Practice makes progress.
Working with people who are very skilled at what they do creates a great opportunity to grow, in contrast to the DIY approach. For some, doing it yourself works. I have found the mentorship to be very valuable.
I have a new appreciation for people who record music for a living. There is a lot of detailed work that goes into it.