What has been left unsaid about studio practices: How producers and engineers prepare, manage and direct recording sessions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


During recording sessions, record producers and sound engineers play the role of cultural intermediaries between musicians and their future audience. Their role differs from that of artistic leaders, such as film directors, who express their own ideas through a collective creative process. Studio professionals aim to achieve the best possible representation of a given musical project, similarly to photographers, whose goal is to capture the most significant image of their models.
Recently, the delocalisation of well-equipped studios to home studios, combined with the collapse of the traditional business model of record companies, has led musicians to produce their recordings without necessarily hiring studio professionals. And when hired by musicians, producers and engineers often take on both roles at once. This client relationship without the intermediary of record companies modifies the collaborative aspects of the production process. In such a do-it-yourself context, studio professionals need to reinvent their job while musicians need to learn the art of recording and define their expectations when collaborating with studio professionals.
This chapter is based on my professional and teaching experience, as well as five research studies conducted with professional producers, engineers, and musicians. In three sections, it highlights the best practices in conducting recording sessions from the perspectives of musicians and studio professionals coming from different musical backgrounds, countries, and generations. The first section focuses on the preparation of studio sessions to produce successful musical recordings. The second discusses record producers' and sound engineers' skills, as well as the mission and specificities of each profession. The third addresses the myths of artistic direction by making explicit the impact of producers' comments on musical performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic, Technology & Education: Critical Perspectives
EditorsAndrew King, Evangelo Himonides
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781138505025
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017

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