Is Your Band Going into a Recording Studio? 10 Recording Session Tips to Get the Most from Your Studio Time!

recording studio tips

Having a GREAT session is possible with these ten recording session tips!

Did your band book time in a studio recently? Here are our 10 recording session tips for getting the most from your studio time, and the best final product possible.

  • Know your material
    • Out of our 10 recording session tips, this is the biggest! It goes without saying that a band should know their material inside and out before recording it, but we see bands in the studio all the time who need several takes just to complete a song, simply because they haven’t rehearsed it enough. You’re better off postponing a session for a few weeks while you practice your songs, rather than to rush to recording. The more you practice your songs, the tighter the band will be, and the better the recording.

      Recording Session Tips

      Recording sessions can be FUN and less stressful if you follow these tips!

  • Use the best instruments you can
    • Have a budget guitar, or a beginner drum kit? They’re going to sound like beginner instruments when recorded. Borrow or rent some quality gear, or better yet see if your studio has instruments that you can use (NHTunes has guitars, basses, amplifiers, and even a great drum kit for our client’s use). Don’t be too proud to use a better instrument; the final mix will thank you for it.
  • Pick your best songs
    • Whether original or covers, pick your best material to record. Ask other’s opinions – their picks may be different from yours. If you’re making a demo of covers, think or the places you’ll want to perform at, and what they would want to hear.
  • Record sober
    • Contrary to myth and legend, sober musicians perform better, period. A beer or two may work to lighten the mood, but don’t overdo it.
  • Listen to the engineer’s feedback
    • A good engineer will provide feedback when solicited (and sometimes when not), and when they do, listen. They likely have much more studio experience than you do, so listen to them and utilize their wisdom to your advantage.
  • Monitoring is important  
    • Look for a studio (like NHTunes) that has a multi-track monitoring system, which means each band member can dial in their own custom mix when recording. Not being able to hear yourself properly when recording leads to performance anxiety and possibly a bad performance.
  • Don’t rush the process 
    • Even if you’re prepared and ready to rock, be patient and enjoy the recording process. Rushing to get five songs done instead of three usually means cutting corners. Take your time, listen well to your takes, and redo if they are not acceptable. Don’t expect perfection, but you should be happy with your performances.
  • Tuning is everything 
    • Be aware of you tuning! I’ve stopped many sessions mid-song to tune and out-of-tune instrument. We have a strobe tuner in house which is extremely accurate, but most clip-on tuners are fine as long as they are used!  Be aware that drums need to be tuned too… a big part of a great sounding kit is a well-tuned one.
  • Record in several blocks rather than one long session 
    • Bands tend to fatigue after a few hours; mistakes occur more frequently, and tensions tend to build. Plan on recording in smaller, say three hour blocks. Plan four three-hour sessions, rather than one 12 hour day. Sure, there’s a little loss to setup time, but that is more than made up for with a fresh band that’s ready-to-rock!
  • Be on time!
    • Studios tend to run pretty tight, and if you’re booked for a 5-8pm session, odds are there’s another client coming in at 8pm. So, the clock starts ticking at 5pm, and you should plan on arriving a little early (if the studio is not being used, the management may let you start setting up before the session). Being late is just negligence, raises tensions, and gets the session started on the wrong foot.
We hope these recording session tips will help you the next time your band is in the studio! For more on our recording studio, located in Manchester NH, please click HERE.

How does a recording session for a singer work?

Many singers put off booking a recording session because of the anxiety they feel in regards to the many questions they have surrounding the process. Recording sessions are fun, and the results sound fantastic!

To put your mind at ease, here’s an FAQ of sorts regarding booking a voice session, and what to expect.

Recording Session

One of our two voice recording booths.

  • How much will it cost?
    • Recording time for voice sessions is just $45/hr. This includes an audio engineer. We book sessions in 2 hour blocks, and recommend that someone new to a studio start with that. So, the entire session is $90; there are no additional costs.
  • How many songs will I get done?
    • Most people get 2 to three songs completed in the two hour session, but it varies based on many factors. Bring in the backing tracks for three songs; if you complete all three it’s a bonus, but most likely you’ll get at least 2 recorded properly.
  • What if I get nervous and perform badly?
    • Most first-timers in the studio are nervous… that’s normal. For many, the first recording session is a learning experience. Most people end up booking more sessions, and they are much less nervous in these subsequent sessions. This does not mean you won’t get a nice recording from your first session.. but if you feel a little nervous it’s normal! We’ll work with you and after a few minutes you’ll feel at ease.
  • Does it cost more to mix my songs? 
    • No. With a two hour recording session, we will use the last half hour for mixing the songs. So, we’ll record for an hour and a half, and mix the last half hour.
  • Where do I get my backing tracks? How to I bring them into the studio?
    • If you are not bringing in original tracks, one of the best places we know for cover tracks is: https://www.karaoke-version.com/
      Recording Session

      Looking out into the studio from booth #2.

      . The tracks cost just a couple of dollars each, and you can even change the key to fit your vocal range. Once you’ve downloaded them, you can put them on a memory stick and bring it in, or e-mail them to us ahead of time.

  • How will I take my mixes home with me?If you brought your backing tracks in on a memory stick, we’ll put the MP3 song mixes onto that; if not, we can e-mail them directly to you (sorry, we no longer make CD’s).

We hope that this answers some of your questions and reduces your anxiety regarding booking a recording session! Are you ready to go for it? You can book your first session online here:

Adult Guitar Lessons | How We Tailor Lessons for Adult Learners

NHTunes is proud to offer guitar lessons to students of ALL ages and skill levels. We also know that guitar lessons for adult learners should be handled differently that for those for younger students. What are the differences with adult guitar lessons?

First off, unless an adult specifically wants to learn to read music, there is no real need to teach an adult to read traditional music notation. Our adult guitar lessons focus on chords, strumming, and learning familiar songs. We start with just a few chords and some easy songs, and move up from there when the student feels comfortable. We will teach our adult guitar students to read tablature, as that is how most music is downloaded from the internet (tablature is a much simpler form than traditional music notation).

 

Adult Guitar Lessons

Out adult guitar lessons focus on FUN and no-stress!!

 

Second, adults generally learn at a slower pace then younger students. Therefore, our adult guitar lessons move at a pace that is comfortable for the student! There is no need to rush learning; after all, the journey itself should be fun! We work with each student at their own pace, and recognize that each adult learns at a different pace.

Third, for the most part, we let adult students pick the songs they would like to learn! Unlike lessons for younger students, where there are predefined pieces to master to better their skill, with our adult guitar lessons, we let the student pick the songs they would like to learn… and more often than not, their chosen song is appropriate (or can be transposed so) for their skill level!! What a great feeling it is to play a song that you’ve always wanted to play for the first time!!

NHTunes takes great pride in custom tailoring our adult guitar lessons for each student. We have a lot of happy adult students, who are learning a skill that they put off for years! Take it from our adult guitar student Marc:

“I have been taking guitar lessons here for two weeks now.  I am very much a beginner and tried learning a long time ago with very limited success.  I recently bought a guitar and based on my music school experience from the past I thought I would try learning with a book and the internet.  So glad I found NH Tunes, great experienced instructor, great learning environment/studio.  I have no doubt that I will have more success this time around.  Although some of the things I learned on the internet were very helpful, it is so important to have an experienced instructor guide you and critique you through the learning process.  NH Tunes is a great studio, I would not hesitate to give them a try.”

If you would like to learn more about our adult guitar lessons, or even book a lesson, you can do so HERE.

Professional Voice Recording in Manchester

NHTunes is the best choice for professional voice recording in Manchester. If you’re looking for a pro result that you can be proud of, NHTunes is your studio! We record all types of voice projects; singers, voice overs, and spoken word. And our studio time is very affordable.

What makes NHTunes the best studio to record your vocal projects?

  • Our Rooms
    • We have twin vocal booths that are treated for both isolation, and reflections. One booth is sized perfectly for a single vocalist or voice over artist, the other larger room can accommodate groups of up to 4 singers. Our large mixing room is an ideal environment for creating mixes that translate well.
  • Our Equipment
    • Our studio features some of the best recording equipment available. Our extensive microphone collection has some of the best mics available. Our boutique preamp selection, in addition to sounding great, will impress even the most hardcore audiophiles. And our mixing console and monitoring system delivers mixes that translate well and sound great no matter where they are played.
  • Our Experience
    • NHTunes has decades of experience with recording and mixing a variety of projects; from singers, songwriters, full bands, commercials for radio and TV, and more. We’ve worked with artists of all levels; we’ve recorded and mixed many spots for TV and radio play. We even teach audio recording and mixing classes through Manchester Community College!

If you’re looking for professional voice recording in Manchester, please consider NHTunes. You can purchase studio time HERE. After your purchase, you’ll be contacted by a studio representative to schedule your session.

Have more questions? Call us at 603-660-2208, or feel free to contact us HERE.

 

What is the Best Age to Start Music or Voice Lessons?

Out of all the questions that people ask us, the most frequent is this:   “what is the best age to start music or voice lessons?”  If you’ve got a younger child who is eager to start their musical journey, and have this same question, we’re happy to help you!
As a general rule, most children are ready to start formal music lessons by the age of five; however, children can benefit from informal ‘general music education’ lessons which can begin as young as three. A more specific breakdown is below.
Be advised that the most important element is not the age of the student, but their excitement and enjoyment regarding music and their lessons; children that enjoy playing learn quickly and grow their musical skills.
  • Piano – Piano is a great instrument to start a younger child on because many of the physical requirements dictated by guitar/ukulele and even voice are non existent (press a key, and a sound is made!). The keyboard is also laid out in a way that facilitates teaching basic music theory. We generally see positive results with students as young as 5 years old, as their hands are large enough to play chords, and their attention span is developed enough for formal half hour lessons.
  • Ukulele – The ukulele is all rage now, and there’s good reason: it’s relatively easy to play, it’s inexpensive, and highly portable! For younger students, it’s also a great stepping stone to the guitar. We see great success with ukulele students as young as 5 or 6 years old; again, it’s somewhat dependent on the maturity level of the student (i.e. are they able to concentrate through a half hour lesson?). Young ukulele students learn the basics of chords and strumming, which later on migrate well to guitar. They also participate in our recitals, building their performing experience and gaining confidence in their playing ability at a young age.
  • Guitar – We generally recommend starting guitar at age seven or eight. By that age, students have usually
    What is the Best Age to Start Music or Voice Lessons

    Formal piano lessons can start as young as 5 years old!

    developed the physical requirements that’s required of playing the guitar. We see more successes with younger students starting on ukulele, then moving to guitar when they are ready.

  • Voice – Formal voice lessons usually begin at age 10 and older. At that age, the student’s voice has begun to change and take on it’s adult form. This doesn’t mean that younger students cannot sing in their music lessons; we encourage it!! But lessons that focus specifically on vocal training should wait until the student is physically ready for them. For younger students that want to take singing lessons, we generally recommend piano lessons, along with informal voice lessons.
  • General Music Education – the above being said, 3 or 4 years old is not too early to start general music education ‘lessons’! These informal lessons can include: musical games, learning the basics of rhythm, sing-along’s, identifying different instruments, etc. The goal of these lessons is to simply expose and engage the child  to a musical environment.

If you are interested in signing up for a lesson, please click HERE.

We hope that this answers any questions you have regarding the best age to start music or voice lessons. Please contact us HERE if you have any other questions – we’ll be happy to help. Also, if you’re considering music or voice lessons, please sigh up for our monthly newsletter. You’ll receive valuable information on our music and voice lessons, and money saving coupons!



Tips For Reducing Your Performance Anxiety

Tips For Reducing Your Performance Anxiety

Are you a musician who suffers from performance anxiety? Well, relax, you’re normal! Almost ALL musicians are nervous before their shows, especially ones performing their first few gigs. Here are a few tips based on my experiences to help you to face and overcome your anxieties, and learn to enjoy the show (and give your best performance)!
Tip 1: You’re not as nervous as you seem to be. 
I leaned this in the classroom rather than on the stage. As a young adult I was so nervous to speak in front of people that when I returned to night school I purposely scheduled my Public Speaking class first, figuring if I could get through that I could easily complete the rest of the degree program.
The night of my first speech came, and I was a mess. After I was done with my rambling presentation, the class ‘critiqued’ my speech. Although I felt like a nervous wreck, people said that I didn’t look nervous at all.
Really? How does that work? The professor said that people are hyper sensitive to their ‘normal’ self, and feel more nervous inside than perceived by others. Lesson learned, and a game-changer for me: you can have performance anxiety , feel nervous and worked up inside, and most people won’t even notice!
Tip 2: Relax; even if you mess up, most people won’t hear you mistakes. 
I’ve performed almost 1000 shows since the early 80’s. I’ve made a LOT of mistakes in shows, and can say with utmost confidence that most people never notice them, even the bigger mistakes. Sure, you’ll hear them yourself, but the important thing is that you recover and continue with the show.
I often bring new performers to play in shows with me, and sure, there’s a bad chord here and there, but when it happens they get back on track and continue on, and nobody notices. That’s just how it works for performers; occasional mistakes are ‘normal’.
So remember that EVERYONE makes mistakes now and then; that’s a fact of life. Recover and continue on. After the fact, focus on the good parts of your performances, not the 1% mistakes… because everyone really hears the 99%.
performance anxiety

A typical open-mic event is a great place for performer to build their performance experience.

Tip 3: Perform as much as you can.
A new performer is like a passenger in a car… the trip just happens; a seasoned performer is the driver, taking control and steering his or her performance to where they want it to go.
When I was a new performer I was nervous like everyone else. It took lots of shows before I became comfortable in that role, and moved from the passenger to the driver. But the key is to perform as much as you can to make this happen. If you are taking lessons, and your studio offers recitals, go out of your comfort zone a bit and sign up for each one (our recitals are always a mix of younger and adult performers). Look for open mics and other performance opportunities. As the performances pile up, you’ll find that you become more comfortable and confident performing, and you’ll begin to perform at your best.
I have found over time that experienced musicians perform at their best because they are in tune with what their audience “sees and hears” when they perform, and that is learned through experience.
I hope these tips help to reduce your performance anxiety and become the performer that you’ve always wanted to be; now schedule your next performance and continue to build your performance experience!
If you have performance anxiety and would like coaching, NHTunes can help! Contact us HERE and we will send you more information on our coaching options.



Ear Training – Getting A Handle On Pitch

Pitch is a fundamental aspect of music, and ‘hearing’ and anticipating pitch (ear training) is an important skill for an accomplished musician. Why is command of pitch so important? Here are a few of the many reasons:

  • Anticipating pitch is critical for vocalists, as they need to ‘hear’ the note that they will be singing before they actually sing the note.
  • Anticipating pitch is equally important for improvising, as it allows the soloist to improvise in a ‘musical’ manner, and not just ‘hit the correct notes’.
  • Knowing pitch will help you greatly when you attempt to figure out other artist’s songs (this is how experienced musicians can hear a song for the first time, and ‘just play it’).
  • Great pitch is an important asset when it comes to songwriting, and ‘finding the next chord’, or transcribing the ‘music you hear is in your head’.

    Ear Training

    Ear training is not just for vocalists; ALL musicians will benefit greatly!

Most new musicians don’t have very good command on pitch, but there are ways to practice and develop it. One of the ways we teach pitch is with scales. It doesn’t matter if the student is studying an instrument or voice; the technique we use is the same. To begin learning pitch, follow these steps:
  • Play the major scale (do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do) on the piano/guitar/ukulele. You want to be able to play the scale fluidly once forwards, and once backwards. If you are studying voice, your instructor will play the scale for you.
  • Once you’re able to play the scale cleanly, stop on each note and sing it after you play it. Work slowly, and make sure you correctly sing the pitch of each note before moving to the next (this is where our instructors can help you to insure you’re actually hitting the correct pitch).
Once you can competently play and sing the major scale, move to the next steps:
  • Play the first note of the scale, then sing the next note in the scale sequence before playing it. Make sure your voice matches the tone of each note as its played. For example, play ‘do’, then sing the pitch for ‘re’; then play ‘re’. If it matches, sing ‘mi’ and play ‘mi’; follow this through the entire scale.
  • Move the scale to different keys and do the above exercise. Make sure that, after you hear your starting note ‘do’, that you can sing the following notes correctly just before playing each note.
Once you can successfully ‘anticipate’ and match pitch in sequence, move on to harder pitch anticipation using scale phrases.
  • Use scale phrases of three or four notes and sing each note as it’s played. For example, play and sing ‘do-re-mi-re-mi’, or ‘do-re-do-re-mi-re-do’. Be sure you can sing and match the note pitch as you play.
  • Move to different keys and challenge yourself. Play the first note to give you the ‘key’, then jump right into phrasing & singing.
  • Build up speed so that you can quickly anticipate pitch. Shoot for a baseline of 120bpm.

These ear training exercises will help you to develop your command of pitch, and as such will be such a huge benefit to your overall musicianship. We hope that you find them helpful!

If you would like help getting started, or for more information on our voice or music lessons, please click HERE. Note that we offer in-studio and online music and voice lessons.
We have a great staff of experienced instructors at the studio; you can see our instructor bios HERE.

Which Other Music Studio Offers Their Students These Opportunities?

NHTunes Music Studio offers their music and voice students much more than just their weekly lessons. We pride ourselves in offering our students many opportunities, outside of their private lessons, in an effort to build their confidence and performance skills. Take a look at the opportunities we regularly present to our students – all at no additional charge!
If you’d like to keep informed of these and other events, please like our Facebook page.

 

Music Studio

Adult student Lisa performs at a bi-monthly recital.

Bi-Monthly Recitals, and our Holiday Recital
Our students perform at local nursing homes and other similar venues throughout the year. These performances are absolutely loved by the residents, and they help our students to hone in their performance skills.
Each holiday season we have our annual Holiday Recital, held at the FaithBridge church in Manchester NH. This well-attended recital is a highlight for many of our students, as well as for our music studio, and definitely gets folks in the holiday spirit.
 Live Performance Opportunities with The Sonic Boomers
Many students have had the opportunity to perform at a local venue with the acoustic duo The Sonic Boomers. What a thrill (and a great experience & confidence builder) for a student of any age to perform at a ‘real’ gig! For many students this is a great introduction as to what it’s like to be a ‘working’ musician, and helps to shape their musical aspirations.
Music Studio

NHTunes adult student Andrew performs with the Sonic Boomers at an outdoor party.

Radio Show Appearances
Students of NHTunes Music Studio have been fortunate enough to appear on local radio station 107.7 “The Pulse” many times! What an awesome experience – performing on live radio! The show is now streamed live on Facebook, giving more opportunities for friends and relatives to experience their student’s performance!
National Anthem Performances

We have been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to have our students sing the national anthem at Junior Monarch games at the Tri-Town arena in Hooksett NH. This season we have had over a half dozen of our voice students participate! A great opportunity for our voice students, and a potential stepping stone to appearing at larger events!

NHTunes Music Studio

Students Bella and Molly perform LIVE on 107.7 The Pulse!

NHTunes Music Studio is proud to offer these opportunities and more to our students, as they play a key role in their overall musicianship. Remember, these opportunities are at no additional charge to our music and voice students!
If you’d like to keep informed of these and other events, please like our Facebook page. You can see our instructors list HERE, as well as inquire on their availability.
If you’re interested in signing up for lessons, why not purchase a gift certificate? They are currently on sale… prices start at three private voice or music lessons for just $65!

What To Expect At Your First Voice Lesson

So you’re thinking about taking voice lessons, but are a little nervous about what to expect at your first voice lesson. Well, relax and read the next few paragraphs; we think you’ll see that voice lessons are fun, and not as intimidating as they first appear.

When you arrive for your first voice lesson, you may first be shown around the studio, and then introduced to your voice instructor. Your instructor will likely ask you questions regarding your singing and general music background; for example, have you sung in a choir or solo before? Do you have any experience singing or performing in front of people? Do you play in instrument? What are your goals for your lessons? These questions will help the instructor to format the lessons based on your individual experience level and goals.

Then comes the fun! It’s time so sing!! Well… almost. First, your instructor will discuss two important fundamental elements of proper technique: posture and breathing. These two elements (along with vowel shaping) will be reinforced throughout your voice lessons as they are critical in obtaining the singing voice that you’ve always dreamed of having.
OK, it’s almost time to sing! But, before you start working on an actual song, your instructor will use scales to both determine your vocal range, and to get an indication of your pitch accuracy. Of course knowing your vocal range is necessary in order to pick an appropriate song, in the correct key, for you to work on. And knowing your pitch accuracy is important for the instructor as they’ll assign various exercises based on your level of pitch accuracy.

Finally, it’s time to sing! Your instructor will pick a song that is appropriate for both your skill level, and physical singing capabilities. The goal is a song that you’re both familiar with, and would love to sing. Of course, based on your skill level your first few songs you work on may not be the songs of your dreams, but the goal is to get there.

your first voice lesson

Voice lessons are fun, and everybody can improve their singing voice!

If you stick with voice lessons, you’ll see the following happen:
  • Your vocal range will expand.
  • Your pitch control will be more accurate.
  • Your overall singing will improve.
  • Your ear will develop and you will hear music differently than before. You will understand pitch better. You’ll be able to better distinguish individual elements in music. As our instructor Ethan Brown puts it, “ear training is just as important as the physical aspects of singing. You need to be sure of each note to be sung before it comes out of your mouth.”

When do all these great things happen? It varies on the individual; their background, their natural abilities, and the amount of time they spend practicing. Regardless, we see improvements in all of our students. Of course, not everybody is a Frank Sinatra, or an Adele, but everyone can improve their singing voice, and the speed at which they improve is based on how much time they spend practicing.

Last but not least, an incredibly important element of general musicianship is performing skills. For this reason, we hold bi-monthly recitals, and we hope to see most of our students participate in these free recitals. Although many students find performing initially a challenge, after a couple of performances it becomes less stressful, and more fun! Students that have performed in several recitals often look forward to future events, whereas at first they dreaded them.
We hope that, after reading this, you have a better idea of what your first voice lesson will be like should you decide to start. If you’re interested in scheduling a lesson, you can click HERE. You can see our instructors HERE, and inquire on their openings HERE.
Please note that we do in-studio as well as online voice lessons!



Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often?

Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often? Do you have a guitar or ukulele that never seems to keep itself in tune? Usually the problem can be pretty simple to solve if you know what to look for. Most problems with tuning are due to one of these four factors:

 

New Strings
New strings stretch, and take time before they can hold a tuning. You can expect steel strings to need playing for about an hour or so before they’ll finally settle in. Unfortunately nylon strings (common on almost all ukuleles and classical style guitars) can take several days or even a week or so before they can consistently hold tuning. You can expedite this by stretching your new strings; click here for a tool that may work well for you.

 

Old Strings
Over time, strings tend to loose their capability of holding tension. You should change your strings at least every few months. A telltale sign that you need to change your strings, outside of the fact that they go out of tune, is that the instrument starts to sound dull (this is especially true with steel stringed instruments, in which the strings will also look dirty over time). You can use a string cleaner to keep your strings clean and your instrument’s tone bright.

 

Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often?

Properly installed guitar strings have only two or three winds around the tuning pegs, and DO NOT overlap.

Improper Installation
Guitar and ukulele strings should not overlap themselves at the tuning peg. This overlap can cause the instrument to loose tuning as it’s being played. The image below shows properly installed strings. Strings require only two or three winds around the tuning peg, and should never overlap. To accomplish this, follow these steps when changing strings:

 

  • Put the new string through the hole in the peg and pull so that the string is taut
  • Back it off about an inch and a half, and bend it up at the hold
  • Wind the string. It should then wind about 2 to three winds before reaching tune.
Loose Tuning Pegs

Occasionally a guitar or ukulele tuning peg will loosen, causing it to turn and de-tune on it’s own. When this happens, the string will quickly loose tuning. Often with this issue, all that’s needed is to tighten the peg (the screw is on the back of the neck). If this doesn’t work, then the internals of the tuning peg may be an issue, and a replacement is needed (fortunately, replacement tuning pegs are reasonably priced.

Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often?

Sometimes a tuning peg will cause tuning problems if this screw loosens up.

 

So, the next time that you ask yourself “Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often?”, check these relatively simple things, and more often than not you can fix the problem yourself!
Read more about our guitar lessons HERE, and our ukulele lessons HERE.

 
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