Step 4 - Performing
The fourth step in the Johnson Recording Method, performing the
music, is the most significant step. If you can execute this step well,
the rest of the process is a breeze. Great performers require nothing
more than a good microphone to make magic happen.
Perhaps you are already performing well, which is why you chose to
record in the first place. You should have no problem. All you have to
do is repeat that quality performance in front of a microphone.
Although, if you are like most, you probably have some weak links in
your musical chain. This is a good time to point out a key element to
the Johnson Recording Method...
Do not rely on later steps to fix your mistakes!
The decision to find new performers is linked with the next phase of
producing, because the producer must weigh the costs and benefits..
If you end up performing in the studio, you could end up hiring some
amateur (to save money) but then doing 25 takes and spending twice
as much on studio time. So this is something to consider. Contrarily,
most producers would rather be adding rehearsals or adjusting studio
hours to stay within budget, than changing performers later. No
matter what you anticipate, you must find a performer that can
perform the part satisfactorily. Otherwise you will waist a lot of time
Some studio engineers may try to convince you that your performing
mistakes can be fixed in editing. Ignore them and follow these
instructions, and your recording will be done more efficiently and
inexpensively. We are going to use the editing and mixing phases to
contribute new creativity to your recording, not to repair mistakes
from the past. So, you may have music performing problems to deal
with now. Here is the painfully simple solution to your problems. If
you, your band, or your accompanist cannot produce the performance
that your song requires, you have two simple options...
1. Change the performer.
2. Change the composition.
Performers are often sensitive about the first option, as if changing the
performer is a personal insult. This type of posturing is a waist of time
in the studio. Everyone involved should be aware of the composition
as it has already been written down or scratch recorded. If the
performer could play it, there would be no debate to begin with.
Unfortunately, if the performer in question is financing the project or
is for some other reason irreplaceable, you will simply have to
compose new parts that the performer can play.
Professional session players will obviously cost money, however they also tend to get the job done quickly. Professional
musicians seldom become session players, unless they are skilled at studio performing (which you will find is quite different than
live performing). There are several directories online that you can use to find professionals like www.1212.com and
www.bandmix.com. You can also try your local musician's union. The American Federation of Musicians is the big one in North
Students are a great option if you want to save. Music is one of the fields in which each new generation tends to outperform the
previous one. This is due to the fact that each generation has more recorded music to learn from, and that music keeps becoming
more accessible. Thus, if you have a written part and no specific performer in mind, consider visiting a school. The students are
not likely to be as comfortable recording as professionals, but they often bring fresh, new ideas to your music. Also, they are very
Remember that you must pay a performer something, if you do not intend to share royalties with them (and you should not intend
to share royalties as they are your bread and butter). Session players are legally entitled to royalties unless they were contracted as
Beat Makers (users of midi)...
If you have followed the previous 3 steps, performing is no more than pressing play on your sequencer.