“What do you prefer, recording or performing?” was the question ask by Mike King to his choir during our recent recording session in Dartford.
The Dartford Community Choir had come back together following their workshop with Mike at the end of 2018, to record songs they had performed together and make a CD to keep and also to sell to raise funds. The recoding started Saturday morning at 10am with the usual vocal warm-ups and exercises. As soon as we heard them start to sing we knew we were in for a treat and eagerly anticipated the music ahead.
Mike has done many recordings (several by 4 Part Music) with different groups and his experience and attitude really helped the choir relax and enjoy their music. When people record they often become very self aware and this can lead to nervous singing, but a confident musical director makes a world of difference.
So the choir was warmed up and eager to sing. The first song was fully rehearsed, working on the trickier sections until they were perfect and then recorded. The singing was great , but the recording was marred by a loose floorboard under the piano which added some unwanted ‘percussion’ to the track. The errant floorboard was dealt with and the track rerecorded. First track done, and the choir moved onto the next and reversed, perfected and then recorded.
Performing or Recording?
The day followed like this interspersed with regular breaks for coffee and biscuits. The choir sang beautifully and Mike was delighted with them, making encouraging remarks throughout. Then in a natural break when he saw them beginning to lose a little focus he started a debate by asking “What do you prefer, recording or performing?”. An informal discussion ensued and the merits of both situations weighed up.
The obvious difference is the presence of an audience with the immediate feedback and gratification you get with a concert… leaving you on a high. However, you only get one chance, and sometimes we feel let down by a preface as we know we can do better! Today, they had a chance to make it perfect, and really showcase what they can do.
Concentration and Hard Work
The discussion moved on to realising that recording is hard work. Concentration is required throughout which alone is exhausting, but singing is also a physical activity so no wonder the choir were beginning to flag.
The recording session continued and soon all the tracks laid down. Actually, all the songs proposed had been recorded and listened to via playback, and there was still plenty of recoding time so an additional Christmas favourite was added to the list. Delighted with the day, the choir packed up, hugged each other goodbye and looked forward to their next workshop with Mike!
As recording engineers we are privileged to really hear singers. Concerts are great, but during a recording session you get to hear the choir at it’s best, which is obviously the aim when recording. Their final recording, balanced and mastered is fantastic and if you would like to hear the results you can listen here.
Given the chance I would love to be part of their next workshop!
To find out more about our award winning recording services please give us a call on 01225 302143 or click here to contact us by email