5 Things I Learned at My First Nashville Recording Session

I didn’t write a blog on Wednesday like I have every week for the last 3 years because I was lucky enough to be playing my first recording session in Nashville! It was a very informal writing/recording job, but I had an absolute blast working with another creatively like-minded musician here in music city. Here are 5 things I learned on the job: 

 

1. Speed is everything. Make sure you can set up quickly, find patches fast, and generally keep the session moving. Remember, you’re not just spending your own time when you’re recording in a studio- you’re using up a whole group of people’s time, too. 

 

2. Design your patches before the session. Don’t fumble around with trying to design the perfect patch while on the clock. Tweak heavily before you show up, then map a few essential parameters to your midi controller for tweaking mid-session.

 

3. Simplify. Use chord extensions carefully, be tasteful about where you put fast runs, and don’t overplay at all costs. Remember, there are a lot of things competing sonically in the mix, and you want your part to compliment, not drown out, the other instruments.  

 

4. Play it right the first time. Don’t waste the engineer’s time playing the same part over and over again. Make it as perfect as you can the first time, and then let it go- your engineer will thank you. 

 

5. Make sure your gear works. Test everything at home, and don’t rely on the people at the studio having replacement cables. If you can, bring backups to everything you own. 

 

I’m a complete rookie at this, and as I do more of these sessions, I’m sure that I’ll have much more insights to offer. In the meantime, these seem to be a great place to start. What did I miss? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

  I opted to use my Nord Stage, Novation Remote SL 61,  a MOTU MicroBook, and my trusty MacBook Pro running Logic Pro on this session. Everything worked well, but I definitely could have simplified to just the Nord and a MacBook. Less is more when you're going for speed. 

 

I opted to use my Nord Stage, Novation Remote SL 61,  a MOTU MicroBook, and my trusty MacBook Pro running Logic Pro on this session. Everything worked well, but I definitely could have simplified to just the Nord and a MacBook. Less is more when you're going for speed.