Since August of last year I’ve been very intentional about trying to spend at least a few hours a month recording music AND finishing my recording projects. I’ve finished 9 recordings between 8/2016 - today, which is probably 2 - 3X the total sum of recordings I’ve completed in the 2 years prior. I’ll be the first to admit that these recordings are FAR from perfect and every time I listen to them I can spot so many mistakes and errors. For now, though, I’ve decided that I’d much rather finish my recording projects rather than trying to make them as perfect as possible. I’m convinced that recording music is one of the best ways for musicians to improve their skills and this is one of the reasons that drives me to record music.

Here are some things that I’ve been thinking about lately as I’ve been recording:

  • Keeping tempo is hard: It’s really hard to keep a good tempo. When I record I play to a click track and even then my tempo is really off often times. One of these days I’d like to have my worship team play to a click track but first I feel that I need to get really good at playing to a click track.

  • Vocals are even harder: Recording good vocals is THE hardest part about recording. Not only do I find it incredibly difficult to sing in pitch but things like enunciating, correct breathing, timing, vibrato, dynamics - I find all of these to be really difficult. Even when I’m able to get decent vocal takes, I can never seem to get reverb, delay, EQ, and compression to sound nicely with my vocals. A lot of learning I need to do in this area.

  • No need to waste $$$ on better equipment: I get equipment envy A LOT… but I need to remember that better equipment is most likely going to disappoint me and not really make my recordings sound noticeably better. Better singing and playing, though, WILL make my recordings sound much better. I have a pretty modest setup and at the moment I’m convinced that the reason why my recordings don’t sound as nice as I want them to sound is NOT because I don’t have good enough equipment or software. I can do a lot more and better with what I have. I need to learn to use my DAW (Studio One 3) better and even more importantly - I need to improve as a musician. Those things will probably make significant improvements to my recordings.

  • MIDI rocks: Little by little, I’ve been relying on MIDI more and more. Not too long ago I purchased some piano sound add-ons for my DAW and I’m happy with the piano sounds. Not perfect but good enough to my ears. I love the ability to go back and fix my MIDI recordings. The ability to quantize is a godsend.

  • More than just recording myself: I don’t want to keep on recording just myself. That would be kind of pointless in my opinion. It would be nothing more than a form of self-satisfaction, which isn’t wrong in and of itself but I’d love for my recording abilities to be used for much greater purposes. I’d love to be able to collaborate on recording projects with really talented musicians. I’d love to take on recording projects for my church one of these days and maybe even produce an acoustic worship album for my church. I want to get decently good at this stuff so that I can teach others.