by Author nicbriggs

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Getting young people recording ready by Sarah Wilson (Quench Arts' Wavelength Project Music Leader)

The dos and don’ts How young people can take ownership of the process

  • The dos and don’ts
  • How young people can take ownership of the process

Recording is a stage in music production, which can prove to be a stumbling block for practitioners and young people alike. It is seen as something complicated and mystical. A kind of magical, unattainable ending.

‘So much equipment’, ‘All those wires’, ‘Will it go wrong?’

It is also something that is done for you on many occasions, which adds to its mysticism.


The truth is, recording is very simple. Once you know the basics everything else becomes unfailingly clear. To make the recording process more accessible, it is a good idea to involve and engage the young people in all stages.

  • Start by being well prepared.
  • The song or piece that you wish to record should have a clear structure that has been agreed upon.
  • The parts of the song should have been practised.
  • People should know the lyrics and their various instrumental parts.
  • Instruments should be tuned and ready.
  • All the recording equipment that you will need should be in good working order and ready to use.

The group should help to set up the recording equipment in a fun, relaxed and supportive way. They should be in control of what gets recorded and learning about the tools and skills of recording as the session goes along. Some young people will be drawn to these positions and should be encouraged. This sets up a peer led dynamic in the recording session which takes away the pressure on the people being recorded.


As the recording process gets underway, allow people to listen back to the various parts and self critique. This is valuable part of everybody’s experience of recording and should not be underestimated. We should trust people to know their capabilities and allow them to try to attain their best. It is good to reassure, as hearing your work replayed can be frightening and stressful but it is also good to allow people the choice to re-record. This will make people feel safe and heard.


As we go on to edit various parts and start to structure the piece, we must make sure that we include the group in the decision-making and get their agreement. We should also strive to get them to edit things themselves and audition effects and orchestration so that the choices about how things sound are their own.


Recording is magical as I said at the beginning but it is magical because it allows people physical ownership of their work. If we encourage their participation in the recording process, we maintain their creative ownership too.