A recording is a very exciting process. It gives you as a musician the possibility to freeze a moment and share it with other people. Because of this eternal quality, it can also feel intimidating once you’re standing in front of the microphones and the tape is running… In this blog, I want to share my experiences I had on both sides of the mics. They might help you to prepare for your recording, and make you feel more secure when you’re about to take the step. Tip 1: No one is perfect. And that’s a good thing! If everyone would be perfect, we could record every piece only once. It’s your personal take of the piece that we’re interested in and want to hear. Being yourself is the best you can give. People associate the idea of perfection with recordings, but it’s that same idea that can stifle the musician the most. There’s a risk of stiffening up and changing the mindset from playing music to hitting all the notes perfectly. Although hitting all the notes is far from a bad incentive, it’s not the thing that will elevate the recording and make it a memorable one. Tip 2: Several takes are not a crime. Too many are. Doing several takes is a natural part of the recording process. It means that you have a certain idea that you want to achieve. Having to do a passage over doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work immediately. However, don’t get stuck in the perfection trap. It’s tempting to repeat something endlessly, but after a while, there’s no improvement anymore. Especially if you don’t have a clear reason as to why you want to do it over again. Repeating with a goal in mind is good. Aimlessly trying stuff out might not get you very far. Tip 3: Time is money – so treat yourself. Another common issue in recording is time restraints. You want to use every minute well. But it’s important to know when to let go. If there’s a passage you don’t feel so secure about, don’t hesitate to ask for a preparation break. It’ll make you feel more in control – and probably save you time and energy down the line. Don’t feel bad asking about it, it doesn’t make you seem unprepared. On the contrary: it shows that you know what you have to do in order to make progress. Tip 4: Every piece has a different flow. Some pieces you’ll record will be one-takes. Others might take some more time. Before entering the recording room, it’s therefore useful to know how you want to approach each piece. Make a planning (together with your producer!) and decide when you’d like to record each piece. Tip 5: The first day is the hardest. The first day of your recording is almost always the messiest one. Not only do you have to discover the room, the sound engineer and producer are also trying to get the best sound possible. Expect a lot of running around, moving microphones a millimeter to the left, and then back to the right. It might feel stressful because time is ticking. But having a good setup in the beginning means that we don’t have to worry about this anymore for the remainder of the recording. Also, give yourself the time to find your personal recording rhythm, and don’t see the first day as a lost day. It’s the day where we all orient ourselves to pick up speed for the rest of the session. Tip 6: Preparation is key. This speaks for itself, but it’s worth repeating: prepare the recording like you’d prepare any concert. Have a fake recording the day before you start the real thing. Lock yourself in a room, record yourself with your phone and listen back to what you do. Get used to hearing yourself and finding solutions to make it sound even better. That’s just what we do. Just not with phones, but with microphones. Tip 7: We’re there for you. Remember: we’re not there to judge you. We’re there to give you the best platform to reveal what you want to say. If there are any questions you might have, really don’t be afraid to ask them. We’re also not there to just mindlessly push a button. We’re listening to what you’re doing, and discovering together with you how we can create the best sound imaginable. If you’re reading this as an artist and you’re wondering about something or have any questions for us, feel free to write us through e-mail, call us, or leave a comment down below. We’re happy to help. Posted by Ernst Spyckerelle. Ernst is editor and junior music producer at TRPTK. He studied violin and music composition at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and the Conservatoire Royal de Liège in Belgium. He won the gold medal at the Concours des Jeunes solistes Luxembourg and was prize winner at the First International Triomphe de l'Art competition in Brussels.