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The function of pre-production in record production

An important part of production is the preparation, or pre-production. This can be done at home or in a rehearsal studio...

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The natural habitat of the record producer is often assumed to be the recording studio, for obvious reasons. But only part of the process of making a successful recording takes place there, the final part.

Before the producer and band or artist enter the studio there is likely to be a period of pre-production to work on the music and the arrangements, to allow the musicians and producer to develop their ideas. To do all of this in a studio costing several hundreds of pounds a day would be wasteful.

Of course, there are some bands who practically live in the studio from day one. Throughout their recording career, the Rolling Stones have been widely reported as coming into the studio with their instruments, entourage and hardly anything else - certainly no musical ideas.

If you can afford it, this way of working has a lot to commend it since it not only concentrates the effort, it allows spontaneity and encourages experimentation.

If the tape is rolling continually, there is every opportunity for the magic of the moment to be captured for further development. But as I said, only a few top selling bands and artists could possibly afford to work in this way in a commercial studio.

The rehearsal studio is also a good place for budding musicians to hang out. This is where you'll find people casual and receptive, whereas in the studio there is money draining away with every tick of the studio clock.

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004
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