Prime Example of "Over My Head"

Pull the Keyboard Out! – Piano Recording Gone Crazy

If only I didn't need to use the middle pedal!
No recording session should start like this!

There are some recording sessions where whatever can go wrong, does, and none of the problems has a simple fix.  Recently, I had a piano session like that–tracking my composition “Equinox.”  The timing of the session was already a surprise, the setup was a monstrosity, and even the piano itself was having mechanical issues.  But strangely, I walked away from the studio that night sincerely saying, “I can’t wait to do this again!”  The studio is an odd place.

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Is This Piano Recording or a Physics Lesson?

I know, I know––It’s been a few weeks.  I’ve been in the studio a lot.

Since my music school audition is coming up, and since I’m applying as a composition major, I need to send in recordings of my work.  For better or for worse, I don’t separate my work as an engineer from my work as a composer, so the recording quality, as always, is of utmost importance to me.

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Have you ever really practiced enough?

Does Practice Make Perfect? Why Methods Matter

Musicians always seem to wonder how much practice is “enough.”  An hour a day?  Two?  Three?  As many as you can physically tolerate?

Well, there’s no simple answer.  I’ve heard some experts say no more than two, and others have said four is just right.  And then there’s the 10,000-hour rule that says it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill.  Break that down, and it comes out to be about three hours a day for ten years.  (Check out Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers for more on the 10,000-hour rule.)

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Why Piano Recording Is So Challenging

Piano miking
Previous piano session miking using a matched pair of small-diaphragm condensers

In my last post, I mentioned in passing that I wrote a new piano composition. Well, now I’m getting ready to take it to the studio.  It’s called “Equinox,” and it’s eight minutes long, in the key of Db (also modulating to Ab and Gb/Ebm), has lots of tempo changes, uses nearly the entire keyboard, and requires all three pedals (yes, even the middle one).  Recording it, to say the least, is going to be challenging.

While one might think it would be easy to record one acoustic instrument, personally, I find it much harder to do well.  It’s so much more exposed; you can’t hide your problems.  There’s no covering up bad edits or poor tone-quality by burying it among other tracks.  With this kind of recording, you hear it all––the good and the bad.

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My Heart Beats: The Final Chapter?

Wow.  Just, wow.  I know I haven’t posted anything in a couple weeks, but I’ve been insanely busy mixing and mastering My Heart Beats and rehearsing for the release party.  So now, the album is finally out, and Lily and I performed to a packed house last night at the launch party.  It was incredible.  It was one of the best nights of my life.

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This Week…

So, this has been a good week so far.  Here’s the rundown:

I had to go back to school on Tuesday, but this semester, I have Fridays off.  So far, it looks like this semester will be a lot better than the fall semester.  Then again, it would have to be pretty bad for it to be harder than last semester.  Anyway, I’m taking four classes, and I think they will be interesting.  I don’t know almost anyone in any of my classes, but it’s always fun to meet new people, especially at community college.  Let’s just say there are a lot of characters there…

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