Digital Audio Amplified What is Proper Recording Studio Etiquette? By Jennifer Martin | October 8, 2020 Interested in becoming an audio producer? Being a successful audio producer means following proper recording studio etiquette. This etiquette is more than a suggestion on how to act, it is a way of life. Don’t fall into bad habits, take the time to show others respect, support your team, and uphold your moral character. You never know when you will need a favor so don’t burn bridges before they are even built. First, lets understand what we are working with in a recording studio. What Does a Recording Studio Look Like? As you walk into a recording studio, you will find the ever-important light that says someone is recording in the studio. Make sure to wait until the light is off before entering the recording studio. This is proper etiquette. As you walk into a traditional recording studio control room, you will find a well-stocked room with a control panel, mixing board, laptop, monitor speakers, amplifiers, a private area for vocals, instruments and other sound recording equipment. You will also see different types of microphones to capture different sounds. Each microphone with a different use. Some microphones will have pop screens to reduce the extra noise during vocals. The room should be padded with sound proofing tiles. You will also see a keyboard or two, and an assortment of instruments, depending on the genre. More than likely there will be a handful of people recording music, managing the technical aspects of the sound equipment and you, the audio producer. Recording Studio Etiquette Tips for Audio Producers As an audio producer, it is important for you to set a strong quality standard and adhere to recording studio etiquette. If you abide by this etiquette, everyone else will follow your lead. You will show that you care about everyone else, their space and their time. Music recording is a team effort and you must lead by example. It is important for you to show respect, support the team, and uphold a moral character. There are also a few basic etiquette tips to remember. By abiding by this recording studio etiquette, you will get more quality work completed and maybe even create that next music masterpiece. Etiquette Tip #1: Show Respect You will in evidently work with many different people during your time as an audio producer. Some people you will get along with, and others you won’t. Some people will be nice, and others will be rude. Whether you become friends with everyone in the recording studio, you should show respect to everyone. Showing respect to others is about consistently acting, speaking and thinking about others in a caring manner. You never know when your paths may cross again. Once you burn a bridge it is hard to build it back. Mind your habits and make sure you aren’t disrespecting anyone. You may be used to bringing coffee and food into the control room, showing up five minutes late or talking while someone is recording in the booth. Although these seem trivial, they can add up over time and you can become complacent. What happens when an important artist is in your booth or your boss drops in for a few minutes? Are you going to disrespect them by bringing food into the control room and showing up late? If you do, you may not last long. Break the habits now and show respect to your co-workers. It is best to create good habits and abide by recording studio etiquette. Image, you bring your cell phone to the recording studio and forget to turn off your ringtone. Someone calls you in the middle of recording a track, you get distracted and you have to do the session all over again. Everyone will be mad at you and think that you have no respect for them. Make sure to secure the little things in the recording studio like your cell phone or soda so it doesn’t cause a situation and abuse the recording studio’s etiquette guidelines. Etiquette Tip #2: Support the Team Don’t just show up to work and do the bare minimum. Being respectful to others also involves being helpful. As an audio producer, you will rely on others to get the job done. By being helpful you show respect to others and they show it back to you. They help you out, even if it is time to go for the day, because you have a deadline you have to meet. Your colleagues will get you the budget you need to create a good album and they will consider your needs before their own. This is what a team that supports each other does. It is important not to fall into the trap of thinking you can do everything yourself. If you do that, you will find yourself working late nights and weekends without the help of your team. When you help them, they help you back in return. Also, follow the pecking order and don’t overstep your bounds. You may have a good idea or suggestion but find the right time or place to bring it up, so you don’t undermine your superiors or tell the vocalist what to do when they are trying to vibe. Everyone in the recording studio has to feel comfortable so make sure to be helpful but respectful of everyone else. Etiquette Tip #3: Uphold a Moral Character Upholding a moral character means, you are diligent, careful, hard-working, thorough and trustworthy. Habits are the foundation for our character and these repeated actions influence our actions. By having a good moral character, you are improving your habits, showing self-control, and being responsible and reliable. You are creating an efficient and organized recording studio atmosphere. By being moral, you can set a higher standard in the recording studio. You will meet deadlines for launch dates, methodically and meticulously complete tasks, and take your obligations seriously. Making a good song is hard enough but sabotaging yourself with poor habits can make the obstacle insurmountable. Imagine that someone on your staff invites their friends into the recording studio and is not considerate about your time. They make a bunch of noise in the studio because they are not trying to meet a deadline. These friends may bring food that can ruin sensitive music equipment. The easiest way to neutralize this situation is to invite them to the launch party. Ask them to respect your time and allow you to get your tasks completed. A conscientious colleague shows respect for the team, is helpful and can be relied on to do what is best for the team. However, it is important to have friends and colleagues come to the recording studio to collaborate and show support. It is just important to realize that it is not social hour and an important job is to be completed. Etiquette Tip #4: Remember the Basics There are some basic recording studio etiquette tips to follow. Consider that this basic etiquette is not a big deal but adds up over time. Do you show up late for almost every meeting? Do you always have a cup of coffee in your hand? Are you getting ready at the last moment? Remember to prepare for a session, focus on the colleagues that are talking, and show them the respect that you want them to show you. Don’t Bring Food or Drink into the Recording Studio Ever worked on a form and accidently spilled coffee on it. You rush around trying to wipe up the coffee before the form is illegible. Now you have to get another form, remember what you wrote and be careful you don’t spill something else on the new form. Just don’t bring food or drink into the recording studio and you will never spill on an important form or the expensive recording equipment. It is also disrespectful to eat or drink while you are working (and talking) with others. Show respect and take a break to snack or drink your coffee before you get to the recording studio. Practice good studio etiquette. Show Up on Time Nothing is worse than keeping people waiting. Respect their time and show up when you are expected. You may be late because of an accident or you had an emergency. The person will understand, but when you show up late you are disrespecting the other person and saying you don’t care about their time. Be Ready to Go Don’t wait until the last minute to set up the recording studio. Make sure you get ready ahead of time, because you may run into a problem that must be solved. Take the time to plan out your session, get the right equipment and be ready when everyone else shows up to the recording studio. Don’t Touch Anything That Isn’t Yours Were you ever in a situation where you had the perfect sound and someone came in and turned a knob or changed a setting? Show respect to the person in charge of the recording studio and don’t touch anything that is not yours to touch. Ask permission before changing or even suggesting anything during a session. Artists and instrumentalists need to stay in the zone when being creative and one change can throw the whole vibe off. Turn Off Your Phone Don’t be the person that has their phone ring in the middle of an important meeting, sitting in the bosses’ office or rings at the most inopportune time. Make sure to turn your phone off and focus on the task at hand. Unless you are expecting a baby or have someone really important calling you, turn off your phone and let everyone leave a message. Be Professional Most importantly, be professional and show everyone the respect they deserve. A professional audio producer is reliable, competent, has moral character, maintains their poise, is neat in their appearance, and respects others. Make sure you are honest with everyone and hold yourself to a higher standard. Lead the recording studio team and show them that a professional considers proper etiquette by showing everyone their proper respect. Final Thoughts Follow these recording studio etiquette tips and everyone will respect you. Their respect will go a long way when a deadline needs to be met or you need some extra help. Following recording studio etiquette is not just important, it shapes the habits you make. Make the right habits and lead the recording studio team to a higher standard. Ready to put the proper recording studio etiquette into motion? Cogswell University of Silicon Valley empowers aspiring audiophiles to master their craft. Our Audio and Music Technology Department students are exposed to new ideas and industry-grade equipment and are presented with challenges designed to unlock their creativity. Cogswell University of Silicon Valley is uniquely poised to offer a meaningful and valuable education for 21st century students. We believe in an education that directly correlates with the work you’ll be doing after you graduate. Interested in learning more? Contact Us today.