So you just graduated from recording school? Congrats to you! But here are a few things you might not have learned in school:

You will initially blame the musician for not having the right sound, until you find the ability to always get the right sound for any musician.

You might not like every piece of music you record. You might get turned onto music you've never heard before.

You may not like the people you work with. You might develop long lasting friendships from working together.

You will only be recognized, if at all, for a small percentage of the work you do in the studio.

People will often get the credits wrong, and probably not in your favor — but sometimes there's a nice surprise.

You will probably spend more time dealing with computer maintenance than repairing audio gear.

People skills are far more important than technical skills.

You must have more technical skills at your disposal than you will ever need during a given session.

Be very careful of attempting to determine the style of music you are recording — you might be wrong and/or you might insult someone.

Don't admit to Auto-Tune use or editing of drums, unless asked directly. Then admit to half as much as you really did.

Never assume that the quality of the gear determines the quality of the recording.

Always try to use the best gear you can.

What sounds natural on other people's records might not be very natural at all.

What sounds processed might actually be natural.

It's easy to make a poor sounding recording. 

It's hard to make a good sounding recording. 

It's easy to ruin a good sounding recording.

If you record something simple and straight- ahead, people will call it "lo-fi."

If you record something with all the bells and whistles, people will say it is "overproduced." It's very hard to accidentally overproduce an album, but people new to the studio will have a morbid fear of this happening.

If the record is a hit, the artist takes the credit — if the record is a flop, the producer is to blame.

The producer will blame the engineers. The tracking engineer will blame the mastering engineer.
The mastering engineer will blame the mixer.
The mixer will blame the mastering engineer and the tracking engineer.

Every time you purchase a new piece of recording equipment, the next thing you desire will be at least $1,000 more than what you just spent.

Any client you work with who keeps telling you that you have a dream job is probably the least enjoyable client you have worked with lately.

Words like "warm" and "punchy" will drive you crazy, as they do not mean anything. 

Everyone is afraid of fucking up something. If you are not afraid, you will fuck something up.

Without some records under your belt you have nothing

And it takes years... literally, years. 

And you never stop learning... 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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