After a lot of preparation it’s finally time to Record your Choir. We have put together a short guide as to how the Recording Day works and how to get the best from your choir.
For the purpose of this guide we are going to assume your choir is recording on a single day,with access to the venue from 8am. This is by no means a stipulation of ours, we are happy to record any day any time, just let us know what suits you best.
Sound Engineers Arrive and Setup
Once all our gear is in your chosen venue, it will usually take around an hour or so to set everything up. The slightly unknown element in most cases is access to the venue. Ideally if we can park our vehicle outside the venue so it is just a short trip to carry everything in this will speed up the process immensely. When you choose a recording venue it is with considering this point.
Choir Arrives – Warm up
Assuming our engineers have had access from 8am we usually recommend choirs start arriving from 9am with a view to a warm up at 9.30am. As well getting your choir warmed up this gives us a chance to fine tune our set up and get some levels. We should then be good to start recording once your choir is ready usually around 9.45 or 10am.
The Recording Session
Whilst we are trying to put together a guide to help you understand the recording session, there are ultimately no rules. The best way for a choir leader to run a recording session is to treat it like a pre concert rehearsal. You will obviously have a list of songs you want to record, you might even have some ‘spare’. This is no bad thing and it’s often a good idea to aim to record 1 or 2 more songs than you might need.
The thing to bear in mind is that time can quickly slip by during a recording session. So it would be worth sketching out some approximate timings just to make sure you keep on track and ensure there is enough time to get everything recorded.
Make no mistake, a recording session is hard work. If you imagine something a bit like a pre concert rehearsal, that’s to some extent what a recording session is like. The only difference is having done the final run through you then have to give your perfect performance. And if anything is not quite right, you have to then give another ‘perfect performance’. And this carries on for the duration of the recording day!
As a result therefore, to keep your choir motivated and singing at their best, we would advise taking regular breaks. If it is an all day session there will no doubt be a break for lunch. But if you have started at 9.30am we would suggest a couple of short breaks during the morning. They don’t have to be very long, but sometimes a 10 minute stop for a drink or just relax, can actually improve the singing afterwards.
Thinking about the breaks during the recording day, a lot of choirs will organise refreshments of some sort. Obviously to some extent it will depend what the venue is like, but if there is facility to provide tea, coffee and water during the day this will again help to keep your choir on top form during the recording. Most singers tend to bring their own lunch and bottles of water (it’s worth reminding them to do this at the previous rehearsal).
Our Sound Engineers are entirely self sufficient, although it’s perhaps worth noting they do like cups of tea and are particularly fond of cake….!
Alternative Recording times
We have based the above on the most common times we are asked to record. That said, we do not believe in the concept of ‘one size fits all’, or in this example one set of timings. It’s often advisable to record your choir over a couple of days. Depending on your venue this might work on a Saturday / Sunday. However, a number of choirs we work with record in Churches. This of course makes recording on a Sunday quite tricky!
As a workaround for this and actually quite a good solution, we often record the first session on Friday evening say 6pm – 10pm. The second session is then on the Saturday. This means people who are working can get to the evening session but we can still record on two consecutive days. This always helps to keep people ‘in the zone’ whilst we are recording.
Our engineers will always be happy to help you and guide you through the recording day. But ultimately it’s your time and we will work with whatever you wish to do.