As a singer, you may have mastered the art of incredible showmanship and you are able to entertain a crowd without ever second-guessing yourself. Or you may be used to recording in a studio and the red light syndrome has become an alien concept to you. To become a versatile musician, you need to be comfortable performing in any environment.
There are different goals and expectations when comparing studio recording vs live performance. Just because you’re comfortable on stage, doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way in a recording studio and vice versa. We want to give you the tools you need to rock the crowd on stage and hit all the right notes in the studio.
When you embark on singing lessons for adults, your teacher can help you prepare specifically for your singing goals. Whether that is live or studio performance, they will give you the tools to succeed in any environment. The key difference between studio recording vs live performance comes down to your objectives.
When you’re on stage, your main goal is to entertain. Your showmanship will likely be more important than a few missed notes or going slightly off-key. The pacing of a live gig is also very different. There are no do-overs, equipment might break, you might mess up but ‘the show must go on’. It’s all about giving the most memorable performance to your audience and creating an atmosphere where they feel inspired, engaged and connected to you.
In the studio, on the other hand, you want to achieve the best representation of your sound. This is a record that people will come back to listen to over and over again, so any mistakes will be much more noticeable. While you want to convey the right emotion in your recording, it doesn’t matter how entertained your producer or engineer was at the end. The goal is to capture your best possible performance and get a high-quality recording.
Studio Recordings Vs Live Performance: Expectations
Many live performers feel apprehensive about recording in the studio. They’re used to expressing their full showmanship on stage and, suddenly, they feel they are put under a microscope in the studio. There’s no crowd interaction, they have to listen back and judge their own performance on the spot and so on. This can feel very daunting at first.
A great way to approach a studio recording is to think of it as your chance to capture your best performance. Remember how we said there are no do-overs in a live gig? Well, in the studio, you can do several takes until you are happy with your sound. Embrace this level of control and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to record that one take perfectly! You’ve got time, identify what you want to improve and try again.
On the flipside, many beginner singers worry too much about what can go wrong live. Let’s be honest, we’ve all had our fair share of gigs where things went wrong. Many of these will be out of your control and down to the venue, equipment failure and more. The trick here is to embrace the environment and just have fun.
If you’re well-rehearsed and feel comfortable with your setlist, don’t be afraid to share that with your audience! Make them a part of this exciting moment with you. They won’t remember a bum note or a broken guitar string – what they will remember is how you made them feel. It doesn’t matter if you sang every note perfectly if you didn’t engage with the crowd. Try to let go of the uncertainty of a live performance by focusing on what you can control, which is the way you perform and treat your audience.
Preparation: Studio Recording
So, how do you prepare for a studio recording? The goal here is to get the best quality performance that suits the song. Firstly, practice your miking technique and, if you can, try to record at home and get used to singing with headphones on and not moving around too much. This will help you get used to some of the constrictions within a studio environment. Secondly, a bit of pre-production will be needed. Think about how you want your song to sound in the end. What emotion would you like to convey? What instruments will be on the track? Should you add harmonies? Do the enunciations sound correct? It’s important you get these details right to put out the best possible record.
Preparation: Live Performance
Remember, this is where your inner performer needs to come out! Not only do you need to practice your repertoire or set list, it’s important you also practice your stage presence. This includes audience interaction, which will depend on your genre of choice. It could be anything from what you say in between songs to your emotions, body language and facial expressions on stage. How can you make your show truly engaging and make the audience feel like they’re a part of it? Think about the way you look, too. Your outfit is also a representation of your unique style and personality, so make sure it matches your on-stage persona.
How to Prepare for Both?
When we compare studio recording vs live performance, there are a few things that will be universal to any environment you perform in.
Being well-rehearsed and practicing good vocal maintenance will be key to showing off your vocals in the best possible way. You will always perform your best when you feel your best, so get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious food and stay hydrated. Knowing good mic techniques and being familiar with the environment comes through practice, so try to get as many live and studio opportunities as possible to hone your craft early on.
Above everything else, always show up on time and be someone who is easy to work with. Other professionals are more likely to collaborate with people who have a great work ethic and communication skills. So, if you want to be invited to a studio recording or live performance again, be the person that everyone enjoys having around.
Take Lessons With Us!
Our wonderful team of vocal coaches at London Singing Institute have years of experience as live performers, session vocalists and artists. They will give you the tools to become a versatile musician who can nail a live performance and achieve a quality studio recording. We specialise in teaching adult vocalists and our lessons are taught in a judgment free, encouraging environment. With our personalised approach, you can learn to sing any style from classical to jazz, musical theatre, rock and anything in between. Contact us today to find out more about our singing lessons for adults. We teach in our stunning Central London premises or online, from the comfort of your own home.
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