We hope this page will help you gain some beneficial insight and knowledge about the recording process.
Prayer is an essential aspect of recording at Serenade Studios. As soon as you know your sessions date and time, begin praying for the studio engineer, vocal producer, musicians and everyone associated with the project. We will prayerfully do our very best to use our gifts to promote and uplift His name and Kingdom through these projects.
Come ready to have fun! We love having a fun filled time, and usually we do! But, understand that we are also working hard for you. Without a doubt the number one problem most singers have when they do a session is overcoming their anxiety. Let us do the worrying for you. For many years, we have been both artist and recording specialist for all types and styles of Gospel Music. Take comfort in knowing that our experience and knowledge are working for you. You can trust us to get you through virtually any problem you should encounter during your session. So, rest assured that we are going to do everything we can to make sure your new recording turns out excellent.
3. Memorize Your Songs...
(Let me repeat this in case you missed it.. MEMORIZE your songs) We have found that almost every singer we work with sings with more feeling when they don't have to read the lyrics. That feeling comes easier when the words flow from the heart,. You don’t want to hear that unsure vocal tone that usually comes from someone that is reading the words.. We want you to truly sing the lyrics and convey the meaning of those lyrics through your vocal inflections. To honestly achieve that is to know the words. There are other additional benefits of knowing the words to the song. When you have committed the lyrics to memory the, you greatly reduce mental multi tasking. Your mind will find it much easier and less frustrating follow our guidance in areas of diction, phrasing, note selection, vibrato, straight tones, tone placement, etc... Your brain shouldn't’t have to multitask so much during the recording process. Learning the words helps in so many ways. So please, for your own benefit, and the benefit of the recording, learn your songs thoroughly by heart. This will no doubt give you more confidence once you're in the studio.
4. Scratch Tracks..
A) Recording Cover Tunes –(songs already recorded and released by another artist) You should bring to us any recordings you may have of the songs, preferably the ones that closest matches the arrangement that you want on your project. Make sure of the key you want the new track to be put in. How many choruses, verses, etc.. you want. If you are not sure of the key you think you want, then let us help you determine that. If you don’t have a track already recorded to go by in your possession, we can help you record a rough scratch track. Similar process as recording original tunes.
B) Recording Original Tunes . (New, unreleased material)
If you are in a band and have a rough homemade recording of your new songs, then we could use a copy of that to chart by. (CD, Tape, etc)… Sound quality and performance quality is not a pressing point in this type of recording as it is only used as a reference for the studio musician to learn the song by.. We do ask you have the music a bit louder than the vocals so we can hear all the chord changes clearly. If you don’t have a band or pianist to help you with the new songs, we offer that service here as well. We will use one of our piano pickers, and help map out your songs and use your vocals as a guide. We will record this rather quickly, since this is only a guide track or Scratch Track as we like to call it., and get it in the hands of the studio session leader to chart and record the final music tracks.
5. Songs and Titles...
Prepare a tentative song in the order you would prefer to appear on the project. Try to be as accurate as you can with the titles as well. Also, at the top of this list, you should go ahead and place a title you would like to call your project..
6. Lyric sheets...
Should you decide to use our back up vocalists on your session, please bring at least 3 lyric sheets of each song that you want back up vocalist on. Check the lyrics again for accuracy. This is a huge “studio time” saver and well help the session flow much better.
7. Recording Etiquette ...
Much about this section is common sense type stuff, but still from time to time it needs to be addressed. We must have as little to no distractions as possible when recording vocals or music. It is essential that we hear the mistakes and flaws, even the smallest, “Hard to Hear” mistakes! When we are listening to playback, we must not have a conversation going on in the control room. It has to be quiet.. We do not want to keep turning up the volume to compete with loud conversation. We do have other areas of the studio which are more suitable for conversations. Also, please.. if you must have a cell phone, or pager we ask that you leave those devices in the control room and set the ringer to silent. Its ok to check for missed calls and messages, this doesn't hurt the recording process, but a phone blurting out in the middle of recording halts the recording, taking up valuable studio time as well as potentially spoiling the perfect take. Most of us here are parents ourselves and naturally we love children; however, as nicely as possible we ask that you please try to arrange for a babysitter or some other appropriate type of accommodations for your children during the recording sessions. Even the most well behaved children find it difficult to sit quietly for several hours during a recording session. Also, along the same lines, please limit the number of friends, guest, bus drivers, road crew, stage musicians, etc that you bring with you to a bare minimum. No more than 1 or 2 at most.. Not having extra folks at all is actually best but we do understand it is necessary sometimes that another party wants or needs to be there. We are just asking to keep all distractions down to a minimum. Also, if you must, we kindly ask that you use our outdoor premises for smoking.
7. Recording with prerecorded soundtracks...
The only way Serenade Studios will ever do a recording with prerecorded soundtracks is if the rights to use the tracks have been properly leased from the soundtrack company. For anyone to record a session without doing this is not only highly unethical, but it is also illegal.
8. How and Why Should I Pay Royalties and How and Where To Find Information Pertaining to Author/Writers, publishers, etc..
Serenade Studios DOES NOT take care of obtaining the mechanical license for you to record a song written by someone else. It is the RESPONSIBILITY OF YOU, the artist, to do this. We do not pay the royalties for you.
One of the most misunderstood aspects of recording is how and why to pay royalties. There is also the matter of how to obtain the mechanical license to legally record someone else's song. We will try to help clarify some of the most frequently asked questions.
When you record someone else's song, you have a legal obligation to secure a license to use their material. The theory is that you are making money from their song, so why shouldn't they make some money too? After a song has been written, most writers will assign their song to a publishing company. It is the publishing company’s job is to promote the song, get it recorded, and consequently, through payment of royalties to the publisher, make money for themselves and the writer. They are sort of the middle man.
When you choose a song to record, you need to then find out who the publisher of the song is. There are several ways to track down the publisher, all of which require some time and a little effort on your part. If you sing with pre-recorded soundtracks, a call to the soundtrack company can usually help you find the publisher of that particular song. (They are supposed to be paying royalties on that song too!). If the song you want to record is on an old album or tape, the publisher's name is supposed to be on the recording somewhere, (on the printed inserts or sleeve of project) usually followed by the name of the performing rights society the publisher is affiliated with. (ASCAP, SESAC, or BMI) Usually a call to one of these organizations can help you find the publisher. If the publishers name is not readily available, sometimes a call to one of these three places with the song title can help. If you have some web browsing, internet skills, you can navigate to one of these publisher websites, (ASCAP, SESAC or BMI) and do a search by title, author, performer or other given selections of criteria. Many times this will produce the resulting information you are looking for. Sometimes you may use only a title, and find that there are many songs with the same title. That’s when it’s good to know the writer or performer. This will narrow down that list considerably.
If you are recording a very old song, the copyright may be expired, as in the case of "Amazing Grace". You can record this song and sell as many copies as you can and never have to pay a dime. The song is considered "public domain" (PD). However, just because a song is old, doesn't mean the copyright is expired. Many have been renewed throughout the years and are still in effect. You will still need to check each song.
Once the publisher has been found, in your initial contact with them, you should explain that you intend to record X number of copies of their song, and you need to secure a Mechanical License on the song for your recording. The publisher or their agent will then issue this license and send it to you along with a bill at the current royalty rate (roughly $.09 cents per copy) times the number of pieces you will be selling. So you see, it really don't cost you that much money, and though it is not always an easy task to accomplish, certainly the peace of mind in knowing you have done the right thing will make all this effort worth while. Here are a few links that may help you in your search to find the right publisher.
• United States Copyright Office
• Integrated Copyright Group Inc.
• Christian Copyright Solutions