Posted by: benfrasier | December 1, 2004

first recording session

Today I experienced my first recording session. UK’s Wind Ensemble recorded Tichelli’s Symphony No. 2. It is a new piece (published this year) and we are one of the first groups to record it.

One element of the recording process that I found surprising was the extra pressure I felt. Mistakes are quickly passed and forgotten (hopefully!) when you play for a live audience. So when you make a mistake you can simply leave it in the past because nobody will here it again. But in a recording session there are sound engineers who are waiting to document every mistake you make! These sound engineers can hear everything! In a previous recording session the sound engineer told Dr. Birdwell he was turning his pages too loudly! So not only was I worried about making a mistake in the music, but I was also worried about tapping my foot, accidentally knocking my music stand, or creating any extraneous noise that would ruin the recording!

In our studio (singletary’s concert hall) a sound engineer and Mr. Bouldon listened to our performance on headsets. Mr. Bouldon would hop on stage between takes and notify Dr. Birdwell (our conductor) if there were any mistakes. As I played I kept telling myself that every mistake I made would cause the entire ensemble to play the take again until I could get it right. Surprisingly, I didn’t make any error too grievous to warrant another take.

While I am in no way a professional player, I can now understand why a recording session can be so stressful. I had always imagined that a recording session would be pretty relaxed because you have as many chances as you need to get it right. But there are many worries that can creep into your head that cause me to feel quite unsettled.

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