DEC 2020: 10 tips for recording recordings…

As we look forward to sharing our Grange recordings in the New Year, we’d like to share some tips that you might consider when preparing your own recordings…and they don’t need to cost a penny!

At a time when auditions are being held online, with recordings often requested for prior consideration, keeping audio and video up-to-date/relevant to your repertoire journey is crucial if ever asked to provide material at short notice. As high-quality content is more important than ever before, here are a few tips to consider when planning your recording:

  1. If recording on your own device, use an additional microphone or Zoom recorder, it will make a substantial difference to the sound quality captured. Ask around, you may know someone who already has you what you need.
  2. Ensure there is no sound disturbance which might ruin your perfect take.
  3. Ensure the light in the room is sufficient to show your features clearly and that you’re not in silhouette (i.e. with a bright light source behind you).
  4. Ensure the frame is not too close and shows ¾ or full body, giving a sense of physicality as you sing. You may want to shoot on different cameras and cut together a variety of angles. Although that would be good for promotional videos on your website/YouTube, you should send companies a single take with no cuts.
  5. Ensure the piano has been tuned.
  6. Brief your accompanist to what you’ll be presenting and send music in advance if needs be. Ensure your repertoire is varied in language, style, period etc, and shows what you can do well now, not what you might do in several years’ time.
  7. Ensure there is time for rehearsal outside of the allocated recording time (preferably on a separate day if schedules allow).
  8. Don’t underestimate the time needed for recording and don’t try to record too much in one go (two arias per 40mins/1hour is preferable).
  9. Ensure you factor enough breaks for you and your accompanist and that there is food available if recording lots of pieces on the same day. You might also want to think about dress code and/or whether you want to have a change of clothes for variety of takes.
  10. Lastly, ensure you are well rested on the recording day and have lots of water to stay hydrated!

Top tip: Every time you undertake a contract, ask if there is any recorded content and/or photos that you can use on your own website for promotional purposes. Good quality stage photos in performance add variety, colour and interest alongside existing headshots. Companies may be more than willing if you credit them and the photographer accordingly.

The above doesn’t have to cost anything, but will give you the best chance of singing at your best and getting the best out of your recordings. You might also choose to spend some money hiring a good venue, outsourcing technical support, purchasing editing software etc, etc. This doesn’t have to be excessive but should be factored into your ongoing budget, with a little money put aside for that purpose each time you do a gig. A tax-deductible expense, there’s no reason not to make this as important as your singing lessons and coachings.

The first time someone from a casting department hears you will probably be online, so invest in your digital presence as your window to the world. This takes time, thought and preparation, but is an investment well worth making.

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