In one week, I'll be helming my first attended studio session in over three months. It's with one of my favorite long-time clients, and we're knocking out basic tracks for a single song; a short, simple, focused day. But I'm extremely nervous. (If you're reading this issue right now in 2020, you know the context and why. If it's 2050, and you're on some new version of the internet researching "ancient music recording techniques," then do a little digging and you'll see what was going on right now.)

I've certainly been nervous about upcoming recordings before. Imposter Syndrome sometimes rears its ugly head, whispering in my ear the fear that the musicians will see right through me catching my bluff, and the session will crumble in front of me. Or maybe it's a date where I don't quite know what to expect or prepare for, with people I've never met, and many potential (unknown) technical hurdles to overcome. Some days just getting my head in the right space to listen intently and guide everyone in the room, all while getting sounds and keeping an eye on the gear, can be a lot to prep for.

But I've never entered a session where I've had to be worried about my physical health, wearing a fabric mask, and keeping as much physical distance from the clients as possible. Next week, I'll be heading in early to set up mics, hoping to spend as little time in the same physical space as the musicians once they arrive. Surfaces will be constantly wiped down with disinfectant. The coffee maker will be off limits. Everything will feel less "spur of the moment." The natural flow and actions that were once simple and unconscious will need to be carefully considered. I won't even get to hug my friends as they enter the building.

I place an immense value on collaboration and camaraderie in the recording studio, and putting up so much distance and boundaries between us in the middle of what should be an open, free, and creative process is going to feel very wrong to me. I know we'll get through it successfully and with our health intact, but it feels so odd. I know we'll create some great music, but I value the health and safety of my clients and myself more than anything.

I can't wait to feel safe again one day, and I'm wishing the same
for you and yours.

The Recording Academy's P&E Wing's "Considerations for COVID-19 Safe Studio Reopening"

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

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