Recording music

  • Discover how to get started recording music.
  • Find our how artists like Childish Gambino, The Tornados and Beat Spacek have recorded their music.
  • Learn about the tools needed to make a recording.
Watch how the band use a computer and microphones to record their song The Sound Of Us.

There was a time when to hear a song you had to play it yourself or see an artist perform live.

Recorded music changed all of that. Once a song was recorded it could travel far and wide.

Recording music is much easier than it used to be. In the past, music could only be recorded in a studio with the help of a producer. Music used to be recorded on tapes.

A producer is an expert in recording music and plays an important part in shaping how a song will sound.

However, it is easy for people to record songs on their own phones or computers. There are lots of apps and music software available and the studio could just be a space at home.

The basics for recording music are:

  • DAW - Digital audio workstation - this is music software on a computer, tablet or phone.
  • Microphone - This is the device used to pick up the sound. The main ones are:

    • Dynamic microphone - often used by vocalists on stage.
    • Condenser microphones - often used in the studio.
  • Audio interface - used to connect microphones to the DAW or computer.

  • Headphones - are needed so that the artist can hear themselves and to get a clean recording.

Listen to these examples of music recordings

Listen to Alone in Da Sun by Beat Spacek. This track was made and recorded entirely by using mobile apps. He is a vocalist and producer who makes music using lots of different software and technology.
Listen to Telstar by The Tornados. This was a key studio recording as it pioneered 'close miking' (the technique of placing the microphones closer to instruments) and an early example of electronic music.
Listen to Summertime Magic by Childish Gambino. Engineer Kesha Lee has recorded Childish Gambino, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert and a range of the biggest rappers in the world. She uses Pro Tools software and often records on a laptop.

Record your own music

If you have access to a phone, tablet or computer, try recording something. You could use instruments, hum, beatbox or rap over a beat - anything you like!

Listen back to your recording. Was it the right volume? Was it loud or quiet? Did the sound distort at any point?

Does your device have an input level? This will show you how loud the recording is.

Adjust the input level of the device so that whatever you record is the right level. If it’s too quiet you won’t be able to hear it. If it’s too loud it will often sound distorted and hard to listen to. Getting the hang of this is the key to making good recordings.

If your device doesn’t have a way to adjust the levels, try moving closer to or further away from what you are recording.

Listen to more

Listen to the recording of the band's song The Sound Of Us and then listen to the separate parts to see how the voice and each instrument sounds on their own.

Listen to the band performing their song The Sound Of Us.
Listen to Tara's vocal part.
Listen to the bass line track.
Listen to the drum track.
Listen to the lead guitar track.
Listen to the keyboard track.

Keywords

KeywordDefinition
producerAn expert in recording music and putting music together using software.
DAWDigital audio workstation - music software that you can use to create whole pieces of music.
dynamic microphonesA microphone that picks up sound from one direction, often used in live settings.
condenser microphonesSensitive microphones used for studio recording.
audio interfaceA device for connecting microphones to a computer.
input levelThe level or volume of a sound as you record it.

Next steps

How to write a song
Who owns your music?
Electronic music