How to Reduce Edits on Your Project – A Guide for Clients
It’s a bummer to get a song back and it’s not what you envisioned. Ideally, your session musician’s second try will knock it out of the park. However, sometimes you need a few edits to get what you really need. This can be time consuming and also cost more money, so how can you reduce the amount of edits you need on your track? Luckily, there are a few simple tips that will give your session musician a clearer picture of what you need.
1). Use Reference Artists or Tracks
By providing a sample of what you’re looking for up front, your musician will know what kind of tone or style you’re seeking. Sometimes people are hesitant to provide these because they feel it will make the whole song sound like a copycat, but that won’t happen! Trust me, a reference song is used often to establish a feel or sound, but the end result almost never sounds like a copy (unless that’s your goal, of course). As a session singer, I really appreciate when people give me reference songs. It helps me determine the vibe and vocal style. As a songwriter, they are even more helpful because they give me a template to work from.
2). Be Incredibly Specific
Don’t think you’ll overload us with information. In fact, the more you give us, the easier time we’ll have when we record. Session musicians are people pleasers, and often your musician might not want to bother you or ask for clarification. The more information you give, the less they’ll need to ask for later! A lot of people write me initially with a ton of questions and apologize for it. I always tell them not to apologize, I love how specific they are! It helps us up front before starting the project. Which brings me to my next point:
3). Ask a LOT of Questions Before Hiring
Anything you think might impact the project, feel free to ask. Things like range (for singers), recording equipment used, or experience are all fine questions to ask. We’re happy to help and want to make sure you hire the right people, so don’t be shy!
4). Fully Review All Material Submitted and Inform Us of Any Changes
This applies mostly to singers, but please review your lyric sheet before submitting! If you make any changes, let us know whether we should follow the demo or the lyric sheet. I always need these three things before starting a session singing project: An instrumental track, a demo vocal track (unless I’m top lining it also), and a lyric sheet. Your musician might need something else, but for singers this should be fine. You can also include a list of instructions or a note sheet if you want.
Okay, so you got your files and you’re not thrilled. What now?
First, don’t panic. It’s disappointing, but you can still make things right. Your session musician wants to make you happy, so requesting a revision isn’t a big deal. Just follow the first two steps above to get an edit.
Here’s where projects can start to derail: When a client responds to a delivery with something like, “This is wrong.” This happens more often than you would think, and it doesn’t help us at all. Specificity is even more important when asking for an edit. What specifically didn’t you like, and how do you want it to be different? You can add the exact minute/second of the song where you need the change also. Any bit of information helps!
Your session musicians are essentially your teammates. We want you to love your end result! If you don’t love it right away, try these tips to get a better take next time. Hopefully, these tips will make your first delivery amazing and will prevent costly and time-consuming edits!