As a musicians, we often hear the term “producer” used in reference to new recordings, new artists, and even new sounds in a particular musical genre. It’s evident that producers are an essential part of the recording process, and in an artist’s or ensemble’s development. I mean, there are Grammy's awarded for Producer of the Year in both the rock and classical music worlds… So, what does a producer actually do? And how does that affect me as a recording artist? I’d like to answer some questions, specific to the classical world, that have come up in situations I have been in.Read More
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I have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. A wonderful, healthy family, colleagues that are the absolute best to work with, and a job that I love. However, on the music front, one thing stands out to me this November that I didn’t see coming, even a month ago.
I have previously written about my teacher, Dr. Neill Humfeld, and his influence on me, and a little about his musicianship and teaching. When Dr. Humfeld passed, my dad and I came into possession of a couple boxes of analog tape (the reel to reel kind) containing all kinds of recordings of Dr. H from many years of recitals and concerts. It has been one of those things that I look at and say, “man, we really gotta get that transferred so we can listen to it!” I never knew what that entailed, or how you would even go about doing it, until recently...
Fast forward to the past year, where my own interest in audio, especially in producing and preserving live performances, has come into play. This fall, coincidentally, I have been taking a course online through Berklee College of Music called Audio Mastering, taught by an expert engineer, Marc Dieter-Einstmann (check out Marc’s mastering studio HERE). Mastering is the final step in the production process for any audio recording. A recording gets made (live or in studio), and then gets mixed. In the mixing stage, the mix engineer takes all the audio that was recorded (sometimes as many as 100 tracks or more), and essentially places all those voices in the stereo field (where you locate that sound when you hear the recording) and gives the recording it’s tonal shape, and many other musical variables that make a certain record sound unique. In mastering, the engineer takes the fully mixed recording and puts the finishing touches on it. These can be musical or tonal adjustments (maybe something the mix engineer missed or didn’t hear), technical corrections (bad edits, noise removal), and general quality control. Finally, a mastering engineer will set the loudness level of the recording, and produce a “master” containing all the tracks of the album, in the correct order, and with great care to ensure there are no functional errors.
To hear these performances come back to life, after over 50 years for some of them, is truly a delight. To hear Dr. Humfeld’s sound, in performances I’ve never heard before, is truly something to be thankful for.
So, what to do with these? Well, after speaking with Dr. Humfeld’s daughter, Nancy Jo Humfeld, I would like to continue to transfer more of these recitals and create a “BEST OF” album of Dr. Humfeld’s recitals over the years. On many of these tapes, he speaks at length to the audience about the music he performs, and many of the recordings reflect his warm sense of humor that many of us came to love from knowing him.
Stay tuned, there is much more to come. I plan to make this project a major focus of my 2019.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May you all be blessed to love, make music, and enjoy the people in our lives that are important to us!
Happy New Year and best wishes to your health and happiness in 2016!
Yesterday, I listened to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, the Tim Ferriss show. His guest was Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby. In addition to talking about his life as a musician and circus performer, Mr. Sivers discusses the founding of CD Baby, a company that my brass quintet recently used to help distribute our new album, Inaugural. Mr. Sivers presented a lot of interesting thoughts throughout the 2 hour episode, but I wanted to share one quick one that I found very intriguing and useful.
Mr. Sivers advocates the use of a "Now" page on personal websites. He makes the point that most of us don't have time to keep people updated about our current work, in a general sense, nor are most social networks built for that. If you're like me, you tend to tweet or post about the last good beer you had, or maybe something funny your kids said...
So, I have published my own NOW page! I plan to only post things I'm currently working on, or have done recently. So, I hope this might be a good way for us to keep up with each other, or at least for you to know what I'm up to! If you have questions, drop me a line or post in the comments.
I hope you have a happy and productive 2016, and please stay in touch!