Self analysis is key before going to the studio!

It is said “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail!”

Record your practice sessions and listen carefully. A cheap portable cassette deck with a built-in microphone will do fine. Portable digital recorders with built in mics are great for dissecting last night’s live show too. We’re looking for performance and content, not sound quality here.

Often what feels good in practice doesn’t hold up when listened to rather than played. Be open to change. Consider a key change or a new arrangement. Perhaps the horn player should sit this song out or play tambourine on this song instead. This is also the time to accept that some material might not be of the same caliber as the rest, especially if none of the above fixed it. Choose different songs, write, gather more, or just leave questionable out.

Listen to the individual performances. If the soloist almost gets it right every time, you’re not ready to spend your hard earned $$ in the studio. The performance must be repeatedly perfect in practice. Being in the studio won’t make you better musicians! If more practice won’t solve it, simplify the part, or get a better soloist!

If the song tempo drifts, at all, play to a click. Play to a click anyway. In the end you’ll thank me. This will be hard if you’re not used to it. Life is hard. Nothing sounds more amateurish than a song that speeds up or slows down. With practice, you’ll get quite good at following a click and your internal clock will improve too! Metronomes can be had with various capabilities for $20.+, electronic and otherwise. The studio will provide a click in the right headphone (s) when recording. Many of the best studio musicians insist on a click. These are people with impeccable timing. They also have impeccable standards and find any drift, no matter how imperceptible to most, unacceptable.

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