What Is It Like to Be In a Recording Studio?

Anne Roos' harp in the Recording Studio
My Triplett Harp in the Ready Position at Tanglewood Studios

I get asked this question whenever I’m ready to record new tracks, and it’s tough to summarize an answer.

Perhaps Grammyยฎ nominated classical music producers Victor and Marina Ledin put it best: “It’s like entering a submarine for the day. No phone calls, no doing business. Just concentrating on playing as perfectly as possible. You have to become a musical athlete and stick your landing.”

It’s not like playing in front of an audience, where my visual presentation is as important, or even more important, as how I play. And it’s not like practicing, where I can be as creative and messy as I wish.

Laying down tracks in a studio is about playing with zero flubbed notes and few buzzing strings, all while in perfect tune. So, I spend about equal time playing the harp and tuning the harp in a recording session.

Recording Session Cartoon
Sometimes this is what recording feels like to me. @2015 Dave Blazek

Physical health is of the utmost importance, too, because the mic will pick up everything, including sniffles and a gurgling tummy. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried to stifle a cough in the middle of a recording session–Not an easy feat.

For all the perfection that is called for, recording is a blast!

The best producers and recording engineers (like Victor and Marina Ledin, Grammy Award winning producer and arranger Ricky Kej, Grammy Award winning engineer Michael Eardley, and engineer John La Grou), are my extra set of ears. They hear ways to expand my playing during the session. I love their suggestions, because they make me a better musician.

The best part of a studio session is listening to the final result, the playback. Wow! I’m always amazed at how the engineers and producers bring out the full beauty of the harp. With a little technical magic, the tiny boo-boos disappear.

Of course, the final pleasure is the out-of-body experience I get when I happen to be in a store, listening to radio or a podcast, or flipping through the cable TV music stations, and my track just happens to play.

I think, “Hey, I recognize that. Oh yeah, that’s my recording!” Then, I’m transported back to fond memories of the studio session.

Here’s your window into my last studio session: Michael Eardley shot this video at Tanglewood Productions studio. This music was recorded for a special world peace project with UNESCO USA for Action Moves People United (Project producer: Rupam Sarmah). Enjoy the video!

Love the melody in the video? Go to iTunes, CDBaby, or Amazon.com to download my ensemble version of “Arran Boat Song” from my “Mermaids & Mariners” album.

What did you think of this first post? What would you like me to share in upcoming posts?

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