1 - Record yourself or band - make a "snapshot "of all of your material being considered for the recording. It doesn't have to be fancy, a smart phone does the job as long as it doesn't distort to bad. You can than critique your performance and learn what needs to be worked on before your real recording session date. Or come to my studio and book a half day and record snapshots of all of your songs, don't worry about mistakes or perfecting the recording....this is more for a "scratch pad" which happens to be great way to get the ball rolling!
2- Arrange and Rehearse all of your songs and get them down so you can play them without hesitation, and prepare all of the musicians so they have a solid idea and can prepare their parts and ideally practice to a metronome with the same bpm that you intend to record to. If you don't use clicks in the studio that is perfectly fine, but a lot of recordings do use them if you plan on doing a lot of overdubs or having other musicians record on it after the fundamental take has been established.
3 - Prepare your instruments! Guitars should have newer strings on em. Drums should have good heads that tune up nicely. I have drums for rent and also can play for an additional fee upon request. Bring extra cables, strings and sticks just in case something breaks. Singers should take good care of their voice and drink throat coat while preparing for, and during a long session.
4 - Start budgeting and planning out your release. Things to consider besides the recording expenses are dupliaction of cd... or you can decide to not have copies, and just have it available as a digital release. Also things like graphic design, photography, marketing and promoting , musician fee s and misc supplies like food, coffee, and tea if you are doing long sessions.
5 - Have Fun! The journey is the reward. The more you prepare yourself and music for the studio the smoother things will go. It's kind of like taking a final exam for school and having to study really hard, than upon finalizing the mixes you'll feel confident and proud of your hard work and major accomplishments.
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