BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Music
Sold on Song. Classic songs, covers, songwriting and more. Listen Live.

 Full Schedule

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

Songwriting Guides
In the studio
On the day

Once you are in the studio the aim is to get the best out of your time there. Try and stay focussed throughout. Good preparation will help with this. A running order and a schedule are a good idea. Even if it goes out of the window at least you have something to start with. Schedule in some breaks. If they don't happen when you expect them, go for a walk when you can. Fresh air and a break will revive a flagging concentration.

Producters and engineers are human. They are really just like us and can get tired, bored, confused and not know what they are doing just like all of us. It helps to remember this. First of all, they can take the stress and nerves out of the situation and make you feel less intimidated. Secondly, you will find it easier to relate to that person and develop a rapport. This makes the whole working relationship easier, particularly when you want something changed when you don't like it.

'Girl Like You' was my first really successful cut and paste record - it was all loops basically.
Edwyn Collins

If you have a clear idea about how you want your songs to sound like, it is less likely you'll end up with something you don't like. It may help to make notes of what you feel should be brought out in the song. Take a CD if there is a particular effect you want to 'borrow'.

Here are some more tips to help you on the day:

1. Take a long view. It's a process, not an event. Don't expect things to work out straight away and be prepared for long working hours.

2. Take time to relax and loosen up. Before each take, give yourself a moment to breathe and gather your thoughts. Taking 30 seconds to do this could save time in the long run. Being focussed can make the difference between a great take and having to do it again.

3. Don't put all your energy into the first take. Use it for the runs that matter. Stay relaxed but focussed when you are not playing.

Gwen DickeyGwen Dickey
When Rose Royce and producer Norman Whitfield recorded "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" they found the song's sound by accident. Sometimes it's alright to muck up in the studio.
Listen to Gwen Dickey Audio help
Edwyn Collins
He created his hugely-popular hit "A Girl Like You" as a cut-and-paste song, creating loops in the studio and improvising lyrics. He explains how.
Listen to Edwyn Collins Audio help
4. Leave tail in and tail out. It is much easier to trim a track if you have quiet at the beginning and end of it. Count in 1-2-3 but think the 4 silently and stand still and quiet for 10 secs after the instruments have faded so there is enough clean tape at the end.

5. Don't be bullied or feel you have to accept something you don't like or want. It probably took a lot of effort and expense to get into the studio in the first place so make sure you don't leave with something you don't want.

6. Make sure samples are cleared or record your own before you go into the studio and take them with you.

Send us your views or read other peoples'
Send us your comments on: On the day

There are no comments yet
Songwriting Guides Writing a Song Performing Working with Other Writers In the Studio Finding a Producer Working with a Producer Before the Session On the Day Demos Publishers Record Companies Management Staying on Track
 The Songwriting Game
Songwriting Game Pick a chord
Play with chords and find out what kind of songwriter you are with the Songwriting Game.

Doves Doves
Special guests on Dermot's show this week

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy