For those who don't have a home studio to work at, or are just looking to do their work in a professional studio, here is a tutorial with some tips on how to make sure that you've got your time managed right...
This day and age, I would imagine that most people are recording at home or are doing a combination of working at home and working in professional studios. Unless you've got the help of a label or another source, studio time can often be hard to come by for a number of reasons. Many artists out there looking to record don't necessarily have too much money to spend on a professional studio, but alas if you want to record it is a necessity. Once you've made the commitment to going into the studio of any type where you have to pay, planning accordingly is a must..
Working in a professional recording studio environment can often be a stressful place for those who are going in on a limited budget. Making sure that you are prepared before hand is the most important thing you can do if you want to make sure that you don't go over your allotted time, and if in general you are looking to save as much money as possible. There are of course many different methods of working in the studio - some people like to write in the studio and take their time developing tracks, while others will just go in with everything prepared and don't do too much experimentation. While either method is more than reasonable, if you are the type of artist who wants to write and experiment in the studio, it's very hard to stay on a budget! You need to find the right balance, which could mean for you putting together a home studio where you can work from as well.
It's definitely not easy to predict how long a session might take. For this reason, it's always good to have an advanced game plan. If you're planning on going into the studio for ten hours to record guitar parts, make sure that you've got something else to do ready as a back up plan if there is a chance that you'll want to move on to something else. Really it's just a good idea to be prepared for anything as you never know when the guitarist could get tired or something else could arise. Developing ideas are definitely not an exact science, so you also never know when you might get hung up on something. The main idea is to be prepared for what you want to do, but also be ready for plan B if you should so need one.
Beyond just knowing what you want to get done on a particular session, having all of the material prepared before hand can also be a huge time saver. Having all the members of the band on the same page will save hours of time in the studio working out parts. This is really the most important thing that you can do to save time. If you've got everything prepared before hand, it's not as big a deal if you want to stray a little bit if a new idea arises. As long as there is a pretty clear picture of what you want to do, you'll end up saving a lot of time in the end. This of course might not be for you, but just know that you're going to be spending much more time in the studio than you would otherwise.
Keeping your ears, ideas, and bodies fresh in the studio should also be a major concern. While an amateur in the studio might think it's a good idea to go straight for ten hours in a row, after a while you realize that this probably isn't the best method. After listening and playing for so long, your ears and bodies will start to wear down a bit to the point where they might not be as reliable as they normally would. Taking breaks to rejuvenate is an absolute must, even if it seems like you're wasting precious studio time. Trust me when I say it will be worth it in the long run when you listen back the next day and realize that you need to redo the work you did on the previous day because it wasn't up to par when you though it was 'fine.'
I think you'll find that the more time you spend in the studio, the better you'll become at managing your time as you'll get a good idea of what you can and cannot do. I hope that for those less experienced, this tutorial helped you a bit to start off!