usually follow an
ensemble workshop that has become good enough to make a reasonable demo
recording of their material. In a recording workshop, the students are encouraged
to record their own rhythm track and then overdub more parts, or try a one-off live
take version of the material.
Before tape (or hard disk) starts to roll, the group polishes the tune in preproduction.
Then, there is the "getting of tones" and making sure every microphone's
signal is going to the control room and then back again to the headphones of the
players recording, and generally what one would call a bunch of "tech"
stuff that goes on with the control room engineer. At this point, the group has
the option to record everything at once - a "live"
recording! This is quick, and fun, and you get instant (if less than perfect)
result. Less than perfect is fine if the vibe is good.
The other option is to build a song up from a rhythm track. This means that the
drummer, bassist, and rhythm guitarist record their parts without the singer or
the solos. We take a step back at this point and ask if those players have had a
chance to rehearse their parts without the singer. Sometimes it's easy to use
the vocal as a guide for playing parts to a song, but in it's absence, recording
that song without hearing a vocal can be difficult for a rhythm section (that may
not have had that experience).
After we have a basic track of drums, bass, and rhythm guitar on tape. We then invite
the vocal overdubs and any extra instrumental parts that should be added.
This 2nd option to recording obviously takes more time. This recording approach
allows individual control over each added performance as it goes to tape. If the
vocal or guitar part were a bit out of tune during a live recording, for example,
we would have to ask the entire band to try the song again.
Once you have a solid rhythm track, the vocalist can take multiple tries at the
vocal part without bothering the band to record the song perfectly on a repeated
basis (that's a lot to ask of ANY band).
Building a song has been the preferred road for recording that takes a bit more
time but can yield the better results.