Kevin WestNew York City Recording Connection

My Apprenticeship Thusfar Posted on 2011-11-09 by Kevin West


This past week I went to the studio for the first time as an apprentice. I got there quite a bit early and saw my mentor, Edwin, as I was walking in. He was with the studio with the owner, Lee, doing some listening on a newly created song. I sat down and skipped ahead in the book to get a jump on what I’d be learning in the coming months.

It felt great to finally be in the studio. I have been making music for the past 3 years and thinking about/being involved with music for my whole life. This was the moment that I would step behind the curtain and see how the pro’s do it. Going to college in a small state and growing up in that same area left me starved for creative input, so having a mentor will help the exponential growth that I’m looking for occur. I have been diligent in my musical endeavors, never letting a day go past without visualizing my dreams and taking action to make those things happen.

The first learning day was great. My mentor and I started off by talking about music business and music in general. I feel like we stayed an hour later than we though just talking about/listening to music. Like I said, I come from an area sparse of musically creative personalities so to converse with a mind that runs like mine was great. After that we talked about the basics of sound including waveform, decibels, wave types, and a few other things. I had known a lot of this already due to my experience in making music with hardware and software, but it was great to hear it from someone actually trained in it.

My senior year of college I took piano lessons for about 3 months. After those three months I had noted tremendous growth in my skills. I went from no experience at all to an intermediate player in three months and it felt great. As I think about that growth, I can’t help but draw parallels between then and now. I have a mentor, a lesson plan, and more tenacity to break through than anyone I know. I’m expecting nothing but incredible growth from now to 5 months from now.

A sleeping giant has awoken inside me and it’s time to get to where I know I should be.



I met with my mentor, Edwin, for the second time today and we are forming quite a rapport. This week I learned how signals are transmitted from one device to another using a variety of different cables. My mentor and I also discussed bit depth, sampling rates and other things of the like. This was a very informational lesson but I am very excited to start learning things like equalization, microphone placement, and mixing a record. I feel like I will learn much more from those lessons than these previous two, as I had prior knowledge of the materials.



This weeks lesson was about microphones. It was exciting to learn about the tools of the music production trade. My mentor Edwin and I went over things such as polar patterns, and microphone types as well as their varied uses. I think that using these microphones in the appropriate ways will yield even better music that what I have already made.



Today my mentor went over patch bays and signal flow. He used examples to demonstrate how, with signal flow, something must go somewhere else. Music is recorded through the microphone, goes to a preamp, then to effects and a mixing board, and finally out monitors or headphones. This lesson was very helpful because it made the patch bays seem less daunting and more easily understandable. I can't wait to start putting what I have learned into practice.



Today my mentor and I covered more information pertaining to signal flow and buses. This lesson showed me that the patch bay and the rest of the console set up really isn't that mind boggling. I know that once I have adequate practice with these tools I will become proficient in no time. This makes me really excited for the prospects of mixing my own material.



This lesson was all about amplifiers: from preamps to the master fader. I learned about the necessity for a good preamp and how tube preamps and solid-state preamps deliver a very different sound. The tube preamp is the one to go with. It make such a rich dynamic sound, perfect for vocal recording as well as recording a multitude of instruments.



Today's lesson was very experience oriented. I was recording acoustic guitar with different mics at different distances to show the difference between close and distant miking. My mentor, Edwin, and I also listened to the difference between two different microphones. It is very interesting to me the slight but noticeable differences between two microphones that the average person might not pick up on. This lesson will definitely help me when I get into the recording studio and start doing sessions of my own.

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