Pre-production tips for artists: How to plan your music production to prevent problems

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[This post was written by guest contributor Lorna Earnshaw, a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and vocal coach.]

An interview with renowned producer Michael Bradford.

Michael Bradford is a renowned musician and music producer who has worked with Madonna, Deep Purple, Stevie Nicks, Anita Baker, and many others. He is also a music production and songwriting instructor at the Cornel School of Contemporary Music at Shepherd University in Los Angeles, CA.

In the video above he shares his most valuable advice when it comes to working on a new recording. According to him, it’s essential to plan ahead and pay special attention to the pre-production process in order to prevent problems that might cost you time and money.

Here is a summary of his best tips:

  • A lot of albums run into trouble before they even start because people haven’t prepared correctly. Pre-production is the most important part of the recording process, and it’s frequently the most overlooked step.
  • You will save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run if you spend a little extra time before you begin. You need to make sure that your plans for recording are correct.
  • Have a clear idea of what the songs are about.
  • Verify the structure of the songs.
  • Visit and check the studio where you are going to record.
  • Make a list of the equipment you will use.
  • Plan the logistics for the recording.
  • Before worrying about gear (like what microphone you will use) you need to make sure you have the songs together.
  • Don’t go TOO fast! Take your time with pre-production before rushing into the production stage.
  • Make sure the song and the music are ready and up to your standards.
  • Give the songs the attention and improvement they need before recording them.
  • Make sure you work on your sound and that you know an instrument before using it for the first time in a recording.

Don’t get so excited about recording that you skip these important details, or it might be too late to try to fix them during the recording. Later on, it might be too expensive to change things on-the-go when you’ve already spent your time or budget on a studio and other resources.

Visit Shepherd University’s website for more info about their music programs and scholarships: www.cornelschoolofmusic.com.

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