1. Aleia Hollands
09 April 2012
Have you ever listened to your favorite song and wondered what exactly went into
making it? I can assure you that the making of a CD involves more than just a band playing
music. An album includes more than just a few musicians, but an entire staff of record producers,
editors, mixers, and technicians that all ensure the sound and quality of the music. For my
project, I decided to immerse myself in the job of a record producer and produce an album for
One of the most controversial issues in the recording industry is the infringement of
musical copyrights set in place by the recording companies. Therefore, I addressed this issue for
my research paper. Stealing music takes profit away from both the recording artist and the
recording company. Royalties paid when a copyrighted song is downloaded or played directly
contribute to the income of the record producers. When records and songs are illegally
downloaded, the record companies’ employees get paid less. Thus copyright infringement is
causing a decrease in record sales, a decrease in record producers’ incomes, and an overall
decrease in jobs in the recording industry. Therefore, when I was recording my CD, I made sure
that all of the songs were original. For one of the songs, the lyrics include some quotes from a
nursery rhyme. This involved some research, but ultimately the writer of the rhyme is
questionable and thus is not copyrighted to any person or company.
For my product, I created a CD consisting of four songs that I recorded, mixed, and
edited. I recorded a local alternative rock band named Anonymous.
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I decided to do this because since I was young, I had decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian.
However, if I could do anything with my life, I would want to be a part of creating music.
Therefore, for my senior project I decided that I wanted to record music. It was a completely new
concept for me. In the past the only background I had in the technical side of sound was being
taught to operate the soundboard for one of the school plays.
Since my first experience with technical sound was in play, I met with Mr. Tamanini, the
school’s drama teacher. He is my official project facilitator. However, he told me that while he
knew the soundboard, he did not know much about recording. He suggested I talk to one of his
former students, Giovanni Laucella. I already knew him through my mother. She often organizes
events and Giovanni would work the live sound and lighting.
One of the first steps in creating a CD of a band was taking the time to listen to the band
play and talk to them about what kind of sound they wanted to achieve. Anonymous is a newly
created band consisting of young boys and had never been recorded. From our meetings, I
gathered that they were a simplistic rock band and so not many special effects were needed. The
band also used a harsher sound instead of a melodic sound, eliminating too much use of auto
tuning. The next thing that I did was meet with Giovanni Laucella, my project facilitator. He
taught me some of the key features of the band’s soundboard that I would need to use and how to
set up the band’s instruments and amps to the soundboard. I then used this knowledge to equalize
and mix the band while they played live. Once I felt comfortable with the live mixing, I met with
Giovanni again to learn how to use some of the more simplistic recording software that is
available. He taught me to use Logic Pro to record. However, I used the free version of the
software, which is also more user friendly for those who are new to recording. The software is
known as Garage Band and is often used by bands that make their own demos.
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Once I was ready to record, I talked to the lead singer of the band about when the band
could meet. The band has a practice room set up with a Yamaha soundboard and their equipment
for live performances. Setting up before recording was very important in the quality of the
recording. I set up the room by putting up the Plexiglas sound shield and putting the microphone
inside the shield. This helps quality by keeping the sound waves in an enclosed area and
preventing external sounds from being recorded. The band and I decided to use an acoustic guitar
for the recording because it has more of a contained sound whereas an electric guitar can cause
more static in the recording and more easily can bust the preamp. I also used a higher quality
microphone to record the instruments versus a direct input from the instrument. I had to use an
XLR extension to plug the microphone into the USB Yamaha mixing board. The mixing board
plugged directly into my computer.
Once the setup was complete, I recorded first the guitarist who provides the basis of the
song. Then I fed an output through my computer so that as I recorded the lead singer, he could
listen to the guitar. This helped him keep in time with the song. Then in some songs, we recorded
a bass part. The bassist used a guitar that was retuned down a few octaves. This process was
repeated for the four songs. After the recording was done, I went through and equalized the
songs. This entails going through and setting the appropriate volumes for each instrument. For
example the high-pitched sounds should be more noticeable than the lows for the lead singer, but
for the bassist the low sounds should be more prevalent. After equalizing, I went through and
added some simple effects like reverb for the guitar and fade out when an instrument’s part ends.
After all of the final touches were made, I exported the songs into iTunes and from there I
burned them onto a CD-R.
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During this process, I made many changes to my process in order to adapt to certain
obstacles. One of the main changes I made in my project was the band. I originally wanted to
create the music using a piano and effects in the recording software. However, when I was
working with the pianist, some of the instruments sounded mechanical and didn’t have the same
effect as a real instrument would sound. The pianist had never played a guitar or drums and
didn’t know how to create a natural sound. At this point I decided to work with a real band
despite the fact that it would be less precise and more difficult to control the sound.
I also had issues with the USB soundboard. Usually the reason one uses a mixing board is
because it creates separate channels for each instrument or each microphone. However, I found
out that when you use a USB soundboard as an input for recording, it does not separate the
channels, but instead records everything as one track. This makes it difficult to mix and equalize
the different aspects of the track. For example, I had originally planned on recording drums.
Usually when someone records drums, there are two microphones on the cymbals, one
microphone on the bass drum, one microphone on the snare drum, and one microphone on the
toms. This makes it easier to equalize the volume of each drum. However, since the board inputs
every channel as one track, I could not mix the drums separately. For example, the bass drum
should be louder than the other drums, and the cymbals are very loud naturally, but shouldn’t be
louder than the bass or the snare. Ultimately because of this, I decided not to record the drums.
The quality would have suffered if I had recorded the drums but not been able to mix them.
Another issue was keeping the band members together and focused. The bassist was
unable to attend most of the meetings and ultimately had to quit the band halfway through the
project. Another band member could play the bass and so for the songs where bass was essential,
he filled in. In addition, I had to remind the band many times that we were there to record and
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had to keep them focused. Keeping focused and quiet during recording was essential because of
the microphone’s sensitivity. If another band member was even whispering or put their fingers
on the guitar, it could be heard in the recording.
Ultimately though, all of these obstacles helped me learn the most efficient way to record
and how to overcome the difficulties. I’ve learned management from having to lead the band and
keep them motivated and concentrated on the recording. I’ve learned perseverance from having
to find solutions to the technical issues of recording. I’ve also learned social skills from having to
meet new people and using their equipment and their music space.
By having to communicate with multiple different people, I’ve learned that each person is
different and their preferred method of communication is also different. For example, when I
needed to speak with Mr. Tamanini, I had to set up a meeting with him after school or I had to
email him because he was busy with classes and play. However, if I tried to email Giovanni, it
would take a while for him to receive the email and respond, so it was easier for me to call or
send him a text message. With the band, neither of those things worked simply because I needed
to talk with all of them at once. So it was easier for me to talk with the lead singer and tell him
that we needed to record or practice, and he would discuss with his band and let me know a good
meeting time for all of them.
Overall, I found that while all of this was a good experience and I enjoyed working with
the band and being a part of making music, I would not want to do this everyday for a living. For
me, this seems more like a hobby to do every once in a while than a career. This just assured me
that the decision to go into veterinary college is the right decision for me. I plan on attending the
University of Georgia in the fall under the intended major of animal health. After I earn my
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Bachelor’s degree, I will enroll in the University of Georgia’s Veterinary Program to become a
Thank you for your time. Do you have any questions?