A year ago, I consulted with a producer friend of mine in Cleveland to inquire about working together to produce a solo violin recording. At the time, the biggest challenges came down to choosing between Cleveland or Cincinnati for the recording location, hiring an engineer, determining repertoire, and renting a suitable recording space.
It was only a few months later when the pandemic hit, and I realized I’d either have to wait indefinitely to make the recording, or figure out a way to do it myself from home.
It didn’t take me long to decide that the time was ripe for me to turn my home office into a professional recording studio and make this recording happen. After all, I’d always wanted to make a professional recording and since I’d just turned 50, I decided it should be now or never. This recording is now my 50th birth-year gift to myself, so I only have until next July to realize this dream before I turn 51!
It was also an easy decision because the idea of having a space at home that’s always at the ready for me to record myself whenever I want to was very attractive.
Have a recording space ready to use any time I want
is a really wonderful thing!
So, one decision led to another, and pretty soon I became aware of how much there would be for me to learn if I wanted to take my music all the way from practice into releasing a digital recording online, and ultimately producing a CD to share my music.
In hindsight, it’s a good thing I didn’t know what I didn’t know at that point, because my enthusiasm combined with ignorance was the only way I could have embarked upon such an involved project and learning adventure!
I spent the summer planning, practicing, and putting up acoustic tiles… purchasing recording equipment, and consulting with an experienced and exceptionally patient engineer named Fett (in Nashville, TN) who encouraged and convinced me that I could actually carry this dream through to completion. He made a floor plan for where to place the acoustic tiles in my unique space, and taught me how to use the recording software (Logic ProX).
In August, I interviewed a producer and several engineers and hired one of each. My engineer, located in Virginia, helped me set up the microphone and fine-tune the placement within centimeters so my sound would be just right. He also helped me connect with my producer in Cleveland so that we could both listen back to the recorded tracks together in real time, while also seeing and speaking with each other over zoom.
My partner Mio Morales (who was an electronic music composer in his former life before becoming a full-time online Alexander Technique teacher) helped me put up the wall tiles and get the recording equipment up and running in the studio. (I’ve never had so many wires on the floor before… it was mind-boggling!) The truth is, I wouldn’t even have dared to take on this project without his loving encouragement and total belief in me!
I finally learned enough to make it all work sufficiently well,
and when September came around, it was time to record.
The most challenging part of the whole process for me was feeling comfortable enough with running the software and being in charge of the actual recording process (making sure I didn’t forget to hit the “record” button or delete anything by accident!), while following my producer Elaine Martone’s calm and positive direction of the session, while simultaneously making the best violin music I could possibly muster – with as much ease and as little stress as possible!
Not an easy feat to juggle, to say the least!
But I did my best, assiduously applying everything that I teach my own students every day about mindful awareness, ease, and creative flow, using my Art of Freedom® Method and Alexander Technique constructive thinking.
We completed the recording of Bach’s Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin (all five movements) over a period of three evenings. Over the next 10 days, I pre-recorded multiple sections of the Ysaye Ballade on my own (the huge advantage and delight of having my own recording studio at home!), so that when Elaine and I met to record the Ysaye, there was actually very little left to record. That way, we could spend most of our time together listening to what I’d already done on my own and choosing the best takes to use for the final product.
Once the files were sent to my engineer in Virginia,
I could finally relax. But not for long…
After a few weeks, I received the first edits for review. It was unexpectedly hard to listen to at first, but I gradually got used to the review process, making detailed notes of what needed to be cleaned up, and combing over multiple alternate versions to find better options to use for the final recording.
Elaine guided me to the best way to engage in this review process, and we’ll be continuing our work together by reviewing the Ciaccona file together later this week.
There have been a few minor glitches along the way, of course, including several interminable moments of sheer panic (where are the files??? Did I delete them by accident??? OH MY GOD – WHERE ARE THE FILES?!!?), and tears of frustration and overwhelm when everything seemed impossible and I felt completely out of my league, trying to do somebody else’s professional job that I was woefully under-qualified for.
But, despite the rocky moments, my project is miraculously still on track, and I do believe the results will ultimately be more than satisfying! 🙂
Now, it’s almost November, and I still have SO MUCH to learn about the rest of the production and distribution process. I mean, what am I supposed to do with the mastered files once I receive them in January? How do I get them up onto Spotify, and where does CDBaby fit in? How do I get the word out about my recording and encourage people to listen? How will I make any money from this (will I be able to recoup my significant investment for this project?)? Lots of questions that will eventually be answered.
Thankfully, I also purchased a course at the beginning of the summer to teach me the next steps in the process, so I will continue to have professional guidance and support along the way.
I’m counting on YOU, too!
I’ll keep you posted, and I’m counting on you to cheer me on and listen to the recording when it’s available! 😉
NOW…. is this inspiring YOU to create your own recording? If it is, I would love to hear about your pandemic projects, and I’ll be happy to support you and encourage you as you fulfill YOUR dreams, too. One baby step at a time!
I firmly believe, with my whole being, that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, and I am determined to prove it with these recordings by the time I turn 51!!
You can follow more of my recording process in previous posts here:
Part 1: “Virtual tour of my home recording studio! Wanna see?”
Part 2: “My mind is officially boggled!” https://artoffreedom.me/my-mind-is-officially-boggled-my-recording-adventure-continues/
p.s. Want help fulfilling a life-long dream? Contact me about private coaching, and I’ll help you make it happen!