Before musicians come in to record at the studio, we often sit down for an initial meeting to discuss the conceptual idea that they have in mind. When it comes to music, more often than not, it is hard for a musician to verbally express sonic concepts. What we do at this stage is ask for demos that they might have of their songs. In my previous blogs, I have underscored the importance of having demos of your songs ready before hitting the studio, and in this blog we help you understand why.

In my previous blogs, I have underscored the importance of having demos of your songs ready before hitting the studio, and in this blog we help you understand why.

Contrary to popular opinion, You don’t really need an elaborate setup to record good demos. All you need is: 1) A microphone 2) Sound Card 3) A PC/Mac Later in the blog, we will address some basic steps that will help you record effective demos. But first, let’s understand why recording demos is important before recording at a studio:

Importance of Recording Demos:


Clearing Ambiguity

Working with music can be an extremely subjective thing, what may appeal to you may not appeal to me, and when it comes to finding the right people to work with and put ideas across the best way to do it is through demos.

Conceptual Clarity

Music sounds very different played live as opposed to an actual recording, by creating demos you get a clearer perspective on the song and the arrangement and the right way to proceed with it.

Improving Performance

A recording gives you a clear snapshot of your performance, by analyzing a demo tape a musician can get ideas on how to better the performance in terms of dynamics and pitching and tweak them before they go into the studio.
Pre Production

Now that we have understood why recording demos is such an important prerequisite, lets move on to the steps that will help you record better demos:

Recording Good Demos:

Step 1

Digital Audio Workstations

The first thing you would need to is to get familiarized with the software on which you will record these demos. If you’re using a PC you can get a version of “Reaper” which is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) with which you can record, edit and playback your recordings. On a Mac, you can just get a copy of GarageBand from the App Store.
Step 2

Tempo and Key

Find your Tempo and Key. Play around with the metronome to find the right tempo that grooves with your song. Do the same with the key till you find the right Key that works for your voice.
Step 3

Arrangement / Structure

Record your backing instrument, this can be your guitar or piano or any other harmonic instrument that can be a backing for the melody. Record through the song and decide the structure that you want to keep.
For example:
Your song structure can be Intro:Verse:PreChorus:Chorus:Interlude:Verse2:Chorus: Outro
or Intro:Verse:Prechorus:Chorus:Bridge:Chorus

Step 4


Record and program in all the ideas and sounds that you can think of, or ideas that will work for the song. These can be multiple layers of Guitars, including getting the right tones or Vocal Harmonies. Just go along with it and add as many ideas that you can hear on the track. Play it back, listen to it and keep filling it in.

Step 5


Once you have a layout with all the elements of the song in place, play around with the volumes and balance the tracks so that they fit with each other. Once you have a few demos that you’re happy with, the next step is to find a producer who understands your music and shares a creative vision with your music. Then you’re good to hit the studio and bring your record to life

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