3 Tips for Working with Vocalists After Music Production School

Posted on September 2nd, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

Music Production School

When a sound engineer graduates from a music production program, it is likely that he or she will be working with vocalists in the near future. Making vocalists sound as good as they can is an art in itself. Collaborating with vocal artists as a music producer or sound engineer can be incredibly rewarding, but you need the proper skills and training to do so.

Here are a few tips that will help you maximize your collaborator’s vocal beauty.

1. Students in Music Production School Should Remember That Communication Is Key

Proper communication between a singer and a sound engineer is incredibly important to make sure that good music gets produced. When you work with vocalists after music production school, make sure that you keep communication open and honest. Prior to recording the vocals, always try to have a conversation with the artist you are working with so you can both come to a consensus about what you want to achieve musically. Having one clearly defined direction is important for both parties to work effectively.

If there are ideas that come to you while recording, make sure to bring them to light. There is no use in wasting great ideas! Good communication can also come in handy for the purpose of business related negotiations like how payments will be made or how contracts are to be drawn up.

2. Learn to Give Constructive Feedback at Music Production School

When team members evaluate each other’s performance in a constructive manor by giving feedback, it can lead to better music and better insights into your own strengths and weaknesses. Graduates from music production programs who go on to work in the music industry should try to foster a relationship with artists that allows for you both to freely exchange criticism with no fear of negative responses or hurt feelings.

Constructive criticism is very important to produce the best results possible

Constructive criticism is very important to produce the best results possible

3. Grads of Music Production School Can Use Editing to Make Vocals a Hit

After, or even during, the recording of vocals, the artist and yourself may want to make some changes to the raw sound. This is the case today in the majority of vocal recordings. Various effects, editing methods, and modifications of the vocals can make them appear warmer and softer, for example. With studios these days, the sky is the limit as far as tweaking sound goes.

A simple way to change the sound of vocals is to change the equalization (EQ) levels of the vocal tracks. The equalization levels are the range of frequencies that the sound uses, from very high pitches through to the very low pitches. An artist like Drake, for instance, who is produced by Noah ’40’ Shebib, uses a very particular frequency configuration, where the music’s high frequencies are cut completely, leaving Drake’s vocals to occupy their spot. To cut out high frequencies, use a low-pass filter to cut them out from the mix.

Shifting the frequencies of vocals can make a song sound totally different

Shifting the frequencies of vocals can make a song sound totally different

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