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> How To Get Studio Gigs, Or how to become a studio musician?
Alex Feather
post Dec 19 2011, 06:16 AM
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Hi guys! I wanted to share my experience about becoming a studio musician
Right now economy is bad and a lot of studios went out of business but you still can find a lot of work and a lot of opportunities! There is only one but! Before you will decide to take your next step and approach studios you need to be very good at a few thing!
1) your timing is the most important thing in studio recording you need to learn how to play behind the beat on the beat and ahead of the beat usually producers don't like to re record simple parts and fix timing so make sure you have it right!
2) be creative! I have been in many situations when producer or artist have no idea about what he is looking for so you have to be as creative as possible and be able to figure out part on the spot! Of course more experience you will gain easier it will get but be as prepared as you can!!!
3) learn as many styles as you can it's really important because this knowledge will give you options and you will have bigger chances to get studio work. Also usually studios don't like to change musicians very often so if you can play in a lot of styles you will be irreplaceable and you can keep your gig for a long time
4) be a nice guy! It's very common that the artist or producer are uneducated and have no idea what they are talking about you have to be able to hold yourself together and do not blow up! Also your scheduled recordings can be moved around or canceled and you have to be nice about it no matter what!
5) make sure your gear is working and you know it well! In man cases studio will provide you with guitars amps and pedals but you still need to have your gear ready just in case you need to know your pedals and guitars very well and will be able to figure out sound on the spot! You don't need to have a million guitars and pedals one good guitar and a few pedals will be enough it's better to have one pedal and know how to tweak it instead of ten that you have no idea what to with!
So if you have it all you can start looking for work!
You need to have a little demo compilations of different styles on one track you can do it at your home studio or ask someone who has one in worst case you can pay studio time to do a little recording
Make sure that you are using backing tracks and the quality is good! Also make yourself a one page resume that you will be able to edit a long the way!
Also make friends with producers and working musicians because those people will send work your way as well! Do not turn down anything even if you have to work fo free still do that! You will gain experience and will get connections! Get a list of studios in you town and contact all of them and don't forget to follow up!
When I started in the united states I had to start from the bottom so I sent out my resume and demo to about 500 Studios and I got gigs that I am still working with!
Keep connections you got I'm still sending Christmas card to people who I worked with years ago because you just never know who will give you work and holidays is a good way to remind about yourself!!!
It's is a lot of work to get yourself in to studios but it will be worth it in a long run and time you will spend will eventually pay off!
I hope it helps!!!!
Good luck!!!


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Todd Simpson
post Dec 19 2011, 09:35 AM
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Some great advice! Thanks much for sharing. Studio Work is great work, "if you can get it" as they say smile.gif Being able to sight read charts can come in pretty handy for this type of stuff. If you can create some relationships with producers, studio owners, you can get on "The List" and be the first one they try to call for a given gig.

As I'm always harping on the value of the web/net, this seems a good spot to add a bit on that as well. You can find studio "type" work on the web these days. Composing for stock music, pitching in on stock tracks, making/helping to make music for video games, commercials, etc. are all valid ways to explore your art and earn a living. Be open to any gigs that come your way and above all be prepared smile.gif

Todd


QUOTE (Alex Feather @ Dec 19 2011, 12:16 AM) *
Hi guys! I wanted to share my experience about becoming a studio musician
Right now economy is bad and a lot of studios went out of business but you still can find a lot of work and a lot of opportunities! There is only one but! Before you will decide to take your next step and approach studios you need to be very good at a few thing!
1) your timing is the most important thing in studio recording you need to learn how to play behind the beat on the beat and ahead of the beat usually producers don't like to re record simple parts and fix timing so make sure you have it right!
2) be creative! I have been in many situations when producer or artist have no idea about what he is looking for so you have to be as creative as possible and be able to figure out part on the spot! Of course more experience you will gain easier it will get but be as prepared as you can!!!
3) learn as many styles as you can it's really important because this knowledge will give you options and you will have bigger chances to get studio work. Also usually studios don't like to change musicians very often so if you can play in a lot of styles you will be irreplaceable and you can keep your gig for a long time
4) be a nice guy! It's very common that the artist or producer are uneducated and have no idea what they are talking about you have to be able to hold yourself together and do not blow up! Also your scheduled recordings can be moved around or canceled and you have to be nice about it no matter what!
5) make sure your gear is working and you know it well! In man cases studio will provide you with guitars amps and pedals but you still need to have your gear ready just in case you need to know your pedals and guitars very well and will be able to figure out sound on the spot! You don't need to have a million guitars and pedals one good guitar and a few pedals will be enough it's better to have one pedal and know how to tweak it instead of ten that you have no idea what to with!
So if you have it all you can start looking for work!
You need to have a little demo compilations of different styles on one track you can do it at your home studio or ask someone who has one in worst case you can pay studio time to do a little recording
Make sure that you are using backing tracks and the quality is good! Also make yourself a one page resume that you will be able to edit a long the way!
Also make friends with producers and working musicians because those people will send work your way as well! Do not turn down anything even if you have to work fo free still do that! You will gain experience and will get connections! Get a list of studios in you town and contact all of them and don't forget to follow up!
When I started in the united states I had to start from the bottom so I sent out my resume and demo to about 500 Studios and I got gigs that I am still working with!
Keep connections you got I'm still sending Christmas card to people who I worked with years ago because you just never know who will give you work and holidays is a good way to remind about yourself!!!
It's is a lot of work to get yourself in to studios but it will be worth it in a long run and time you will spend will eventually pay off!
I hope it helps!!!!
Good luck!!!



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Saoirse O'Shea
post Dec 19 2011, 10:01 AM
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Great list Alex smile.gif. One more that I would add:

Learn to read both score sheets and music. There is a strong possibility that you will present with either in a session.

It also helps if you have a reasonable understanding of music theory and know your chords, keys, modes and inversions as, for example, you may well be asked touse a different chord voicing as a composer may have notated a piano chord for guitar.



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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 19 2011, 10:53 AM
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Great post Alex! I've been looking forward to finding some work in that direction from time to time, but just to test my strength and make connections! It's a god thing that I managed to have the important aspects gathered in one place thanks to you!

In here, there's but a few really important studios being able to provide such services for recording artists. I have done guitar work for some people, but not too extensive and never too complex. Would be a challenge to try and become a Steve Lukather in the studio biggrin.gif


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 19 2011, 12:08 PM
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These are golden advices Alex, thanks for sharing them. One more to add:

* Being prepared for studio work is very important. Often a player will have to pull out all his tricks to play a piece, but if you come prepared, the level of stress is going down, and job goes more smoothly.



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PosterBoy
post Dec 19 2011, 12:20 PM
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I've heard about a lot of guitarists 'phoning in their part' as in they get emailed a backing and record their part on their home studio set up, then send the stem back to the producer.

Apparently using this approach, you can get top guys like Brent Mason to play on your album at a very reasonable rate.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 19 2011, 12:25 PM
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QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Dec 19 2011, 11:20 AM) *
I've heard about a lot of guitarists 'phoning in their part' as in they get emailed a backing and record their part on their home studio set up, then send the stem back to the producer.

Apparently using this approach, you can get top guys like Brent Mason to play on your album at a very reasonable rate.


Sure! It can be done! I've got a friend who had Atma Anur record drums for his whole album smile.gif


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Daniel Realpe
post Dec 19 2011, 03:35 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Dec 19 2011, 12:25 PM) *
Sure! It can be done! I've got a friend who had Atma Anur record drums for his whole album smile.gif

wow, Atma is like one of my drumming heroes! you got his number ? biggrin.gif


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Nihilist1
post Dec 19 2011, 04:09 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Dec 19 2011, 11:25 AM) *
Sure! It can be done! I've got a friend who had Atma Anur record drums for his whole album smile.gif


Dude... That is too awesome.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 19 2011, 04:27 PM
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QUOTE (Daniel Realpe @ Dec 19 2011, 02:35 PM) *
wow, Atma is like one of my drumming heroes! you got his number ? biggrin.gif


Not at this very moment, but I think I can convince Corrado to ease the link towards Atma smile.gif Do you have anything in mind? biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Nihilist1 @ Dec 19 2011, 03:09 PM) *
Dude... That is too awesome.


biggrin.gif Man, this guy who Atma drummed for is very cool! I got to meet a whole army of internationally acclaimed guitar heroes through him biggrin.gif


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Alex Feather
post Dec 19 2011, 07:52 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Dec 19 2011, 09:01 AM) *
Great list Alex smile.gif. One more that I would add:

Learn to read both score sheets and music. There is a strong possibility that you will present with either in a session.

It also helps if you have a reasonable understanding of music theory and know your chords, keys, modes and inversions as, for example, you may well be asked touse a different chord voicing as a composer may have notated a piano chord for guitar.

You are absolutely right!!! It happens a lot when you have to read music! There is just too many things to talk about!!!

QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Dec 19 2011, 11:08 AM) *
These are golden advices Alex, thanks for sharing them. One more to add:

* Being prepared for studio work is very important. Often a player will have to pull out all his tricks to play a piece, but if you come prepared, the level of stress is going down, and job goes more smoothly.

True but most of the time you have no idea what work you will have to do! It's rare that you are getting music before session most likely you will have to work on the spot


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 19 2011, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (Alex Feather @ Dec 19 2011, 07:52 PM) *
You are absolutely right!!! It happens a lot when you have to read music! There is just too many things to talk about!!!


True but most of the time you have no idea what work you will have to do! It's rare that you are getting music before session most likely you will have to work on the spot


Yes, this is true my friend.


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Alex Feather
post Dec 19 2011, 08:05 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Dec 19 2011, 09:53 AM) *
Great post Alex! I've been looking forward to finding some work in that direction from time to time, but just to test my strength and make connections! It's a god thing that I managed to have the important aspects gathered in one place thanks to you!

In here, there's but a few really important studios being able to provide such services for recording artists. I have done guitar work for some people, but not too extensive and never too complex. Would be a challenge to try and become a Steve Lukather in the studio biggrin.gif

Its a very good idea to have a home studio but major production will use only a top level. In our time you can do both and turn it into your own business!!


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