going about a noncommercial recording--logistics, funding, performance

June 4, 2018, 2:26 PM · I have had the idea in my head for a long time to make a recording. Not commercial in any way, but there were a lot of people who supported me in music when I was younger--church folks and extended family, many of whom are up in years and in different parts of the country and I don't see much anymore--and I would really like to put something like this together as a gift, just to communicate how much they meant to me.

I have the music--a lot of it would be hymn selections I've played before which are already in my fingers. I have a pianist who is interested. I can probably network around my area to find a sound engineer, though I'd love any input you guys have bc I have no idea about that side of things.

What I'm thinking through is ideas to help subsidize my pianist/sound engineer fees--I don't want to shortsell them just bc I'm playing for free! :) but I'm not sure I'm quite in a position to front it especially as I have no idea how much the recording part will cost...I was considering putting together the program as a nonprofit concert, maybe at local churches or retirement centers--"no tickets--donations accepted" type of thing. How to present that kind of thing in a non-tacky way. :)

Anyone have experience, thoughts, details I should consider? Thank you!

Replies (3)

Edited: June 4, 2018, 4:34 PM · There are "crowdfunding" websites that people use to finance virtually any activity or product. My grandson's band funded their first studio-recorded CD that way (the crowdfunding site they used to raise the money is kickstarter.com ). There are also other steps involved in producing a professional quality recording. If I knew any more details of what they did, I would tell you. They already had lots of stage time and microphone experience before they made their first recording. They made 2 later recordings with their own recording equipment and then later mixed and mastered at professional studios.

In my opinion it is worth experimenting ahead of time, first recording the whole program yourselves - perhaps on something like an Ederol or Zoom hand-held-size recorder. Of course there is extra quality in professional recording with expensive professional equipment (mixing and mastering and all that later stuff that costs more money) - but many people cannot detect the difference.

A violinist friend of mine did something similar to what the OP is considering: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/bonnierasmussen

https://sound.stackexchange.com/questions/25003/what-are-the-steps-phases-of-a-cd-album-production

Edited: June 5, 2018, 9:19 AM · Back in the 80s (I know), I was in a rock band (I know), and we recorded four songs at a professional-grade studio at a high school, as part of a class. It cost us nothing but the price of the tape (about $50 back then; I assume everything today is saved to digital and you could get a CD pretty cheap). That was my first experience in a real studio, and it was a lot of fun being around all that high-end gear. Anyway, there might be a similar opportunity around for you, at a community college or the like. I know that where I live there are a number of audio engineering programs, and the students like to work with real musicians of all genres.

If nothing like that is available, you should at least find out what the recording costs are likely to be. A live recording in a church or similar space might cost a lot less than actual studio time. It's been a long time since I was involved with any professional-quality recording, though, so I have no idea what the technology is like these days. But I would find out about the costs first; maybe it's not as prohibitive as you imagine?

Andy's suggestion that a decent recording made on your own might be good enough for most listeners is a good one, too. The equipment you can buy for home recording is probably about as good as the professional gear was back when I was young.

June 7, 2018, 10:45 AM · Thanks for the input, good food for thought!

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