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Pre-Production and Arrangement

Lesson 4 from: Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Joey Sturgis

Pre-Production and Arrangement

Lesson 4 from: Studio Pass with Joey Sturgis

Joey Sturgis

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Lesson Info

4. Pre-Production and Arrangement

Lesson Info

Pre-Production and Arrangement

Where does all this start this all starts with preproduction um take care of the song and the song will take care of you that that statement goes a long way pre production is a creative process but your technical skills or assumed you can't do the creative process if you don't understand how to interface with your tools so you need a good understanding of how your tools work so you can use them too uh convey your ideas and actually get accomplish your goals if you don't know how to plug in your guitar and record it on your computer, then you'll never be ableto jot down your ideas um you can't mold something out of nothing so you need an idea this is ah important thing to understand about the producer role in particular is that if a band comes into your studio and they don't have any material, what are you going to produce? So the band's gotta have um at least song ideas first and then you're going to take those songs and mold them into better versions of themselves. The songwriter crea...

tes the idea and the producer brings it to life that's uh basically the main point and I think it's the producer's job to make it easier for the artist to bring his ideas to life sometimes it doesn't you know sometimes the greatest producer in the world is the guy that just knows exactly what to do to make the artist comfortable so they can be creative or sometimes it's the producer who knows what kind of music that the artist is into and he makes just the right suggestions so that the artist stays inspired by what they're doing because a lot of times the songwriter here's their song at least a thousand times before they've even tried teo record it so it makes sense for the producer toe keep things fresh um give me a blank slate and I won't know what to do so yeah, you come in, you don't have any rips I don't know what to do you you need to at least put the the pen to paper and then give me a song and I'll make it a thousand times better that's really what a producer is supposed to do so how do we do that? Step one we need to analyze the song what could be better about the song? So just like we were listening to the demo prior I'm curious did you guys notice anything about bpm while we're listening to the song? Did it sound slow, fast anything like that? I think I don't know I I could be completely wrong with aside slower the first time in the demo you're right about did you notice that? Um yeah, I did notice that and also, um were there times in so the first song was it one set for the first run through was that one set bpm or was changing yeah so the original version of the song was just one bpm and funny story about this song in particular is when I showed the changes that I wanted to make to the artist they didn't know that I had changed the tempo um of course they were like oh yeah sounds great that we love all the little changes that you made and that that's part of what we're going to talk about is how in preproduction when I do which is a little bit different than most people is I go in and I actually make what I what I consider to be the final version of the song before we even record it so I taken and chop things up and move them around in the computer just so I can convey it to the artist easier I'd rather show them an mp three rather than sit down in a room and try to say okay, well what if we take this part and shorten it? I'm going to go ahead and shorten it and then play it back to you and show you what it sounds like now that they didn't notice that I changed the bpm but actually and I'll show you this later there's certain parts that I slowed down a little bit but there's also some parts of it speed up a little bit and tiny little bpm changes just to make the song have a little bit more of an exciting field in certain parts, so one of the first things that you look at when you're talking about making a song better is is the bpm the second thing that you look at is the boring sections. Well, you're going to listen to the song and try to see if there are blowing sections uh, bad transitions that's a that's a pretty common one it's kind of frustrating as a right as a songwriter because you can you can write this great chorus you can write this great verse, but how do you connect them together? The transitions are always uh uh, a thorn in your side ah, then we look at tying it all together. I don't know if you guys noticed this about the demo, but there was some sections where basically the vocals just weren't there. Um, I call those I call those boring sections and part of of making the song work together is being able to connect those boring sections to the rest of the song. One of the things I don't know if you noticed this, let me let me just show you this one part right here, so I'm gonna play the demo and check out this this part of the song? Yeah so there is a little bit of an awkward space there, he says. Let me hear you scream, then there's a gap, a pause, and then he says, let me hear you scream again. I thought that was pretty weird, so what I ended up doing is I took apart from the pre chorus and copy and paste it in there, um, where he starts counting, so let me show you that, yeah, so that was me trying to tie that together because earlier in the song he does that count up, and then he does that, that thing, and that just filled that gap beautifully. It connected the main idea together, and it took something from that you will remember from earlier that was really key, part of of bringing you into the chorus, and it takes you basically on the top it it takes you from the climax of the song to to the the most exciting part, which is the end.

Class Materials

bonus material with enrollment

What is Vocal Production
Autotune Pitch Correction Modes and Tools
Understanding Pitch Graphing
Timing and Quantization
Vocal Mixing
Separating Lead & Background in Mixing
Mixing Harmonies & Adv Production Technique

Ratings and Reviews


I have been following Joey's work since the early Prada days... This is one of the best discussions any producer has ever contributed to digital audio. I love the amount of transparency. He simply reveals everything and guides you on a very wise path on how to become a in-the-box producer like him! Turns out, the answer is -- a ton of hard work! Plus, this has to be the best use-case on his own awesome and super-affordable plugins. I have watched almost every popular producer/engineer workshops and have also sat-in on Eddie Kramer, Alan Parsons and Quincy Jones producer workshops and believe it or not... This is the best one yet.

Adam Train

I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the bands Joey records. The only reason I bought this class was because I enjoyed the Periphery one so much. Joey takes modern production techniques to the absolutely extreme. He takes punch-ins and editing to a level where it's not even funny any more. If you're looking for tips on recording and mixing in general, this class is not for you. If you're looking for editing tips to see how far you can possibly push the strive for perfection, this is pretty spot on. If you're a beginner, don't take this class to heart - Joey's workflow is borderline psychopathic - go and get the Periphery session instead. If you've been recording for a while and you're looking to see how far editing can take you, it's worth a look.

a Creativelive Student

Easily one of the best investments I've made. There is so much information here that you'll have to watch it multiple times to really catch everything. Looked up to Joey Sturgis for a long time and this is literally a dream come true to get a behind the scenes look into his talent. He delivered the material in a very understandable fashion and was extremely clear with all his examples. I love creative live =)

Student Work