Reginald Clews’ Tips on How to Inspire a Successful Recording Session

There’s a lot that goes into making a music album.  There’s the planning of the album, the recording, the distributing and a whole lot more.  Indeed, I would argue that making a classical music album can be trickier in some respects than making a recording in other musical genres.  Which is why, after having made a recording, Praeludium in the Park, I thought I would offer some brief words of advice to those who are perhaps considering making an album.  Hopefully, this advice will come in handy. 
Choosing the right material to record…

The importance of choosing the right material to record is pretty obvious.  Indeed, it may be the very reason why you’re making an album in the first place.  Either way, one word of caution to consider when selecting what music to record: do not let the pressure of current trends in classical music guide your selection process.  If you’re excited to play works from a particular composer, and if you have a producer and distributor who are on board with your selection, then follow your interest and passion.  Trust me – you’ll have a much better album in the end.

A few words on how to have a successful recording session…

Here’s the most important thing you need to do to improve your chances of having a successful recording process: prepare.  I’ll say that again: prepare.   Here’s the thing – we all know how much studio time can cost.  And, undoubtedly, you, your producer and your entire team would like to keep costs down.  Therefore, plan your recording process out as much as possible prior to entering the studio.  And the first step in doing that is to make sure that your instruments are in prime, tip-top condition.  Are they ready to produce the highest quality of sound possible?  If not, then correct the situation and fine tune your instruments before you do anything else. 

How you can create a clear vision of the record you would like to create with your fellow musicians…

Unless you’re recording an entire solo record, you will undoubtedly be working with other classical musicians.  In some cases, these will be musicians who you’ve never played with before.  Indeed, in some extreme scenarios, these could be musicians who are not incredibly familiar with the material you would like to record. 

So, how do you effectively communicate the kind of record you would like to make in these sorts of scenarios?  Well, as it so happens, this also depends on good preparation.  If you can (and, hopefully, there is opportunity), spend some time with your fellow recording musicians prior to the recording session.  Have a meeting with them (ideally, more than one meeting) and communicate to the musicians how you envision the record to sound.  Furthermore, discuss with them how you would like the recording process to go.  Are you looking to record the material in small segments?  Will you be jumping around to different parts of the material?  Finally, make sure you allow them to make their own suggestions.  And when they do offer suggestions, really listen to their thoughts.  In the end, recording is a team effort, and it’s only as a team that the best possible album will be created.