I’ve talked about pre-production before…a lot actually.

(In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, pre-production is the process of planning out a song before you record it, nailing down the essentials like tempo, arrangement, key, etc.)

Why do I keep bringing it up? Is it all about productivity and efficiency? Yes and no. Sure, you want to be productive in the studio; you want to finish things relatively quickly.

But more importantly, you want things to be FUN.

If working in the studio starts to feel like a JOB, you’ll be less and less motivated to get in there and make some progress.

I’ve been there. Holy moley, have I been there. I’ll set these huge expectations for myself. I’ll have a big, elaborate plan for how I’m going to record a particular song. But in the midst of all those fancy plans, I stop having fun.

While I love pre-production and sing its praises in a lot of my articles, there’s a fine line between being prepared and OVER-planning your sessions.

Done the right way, pre-production helps you get a vision for the song, and it prevents you from needing to back-pedal to “fix” mistakes later on in the recording process. Plus, it’s really fun and creative.

Done the wrong way, it looks a lot like stalling. You plan and plan…and plan….and plan. And that project seems to always be a “someday” thing, not a present reality.

Should pre-production be a part of your recording process? Absolutely. (I do pre-production to some degree on every project I work on.)

But keep it fun. Keep it short and sweet.

Take the time to make a decisive plan, then move on and start recording.

To learn specifically how to use pre-production to make your recordings better (AND more fun), join the Production Club:


We cover pre-production (using one of MY songs) during the first two weeks.

Joe Gilder

P.S. Become a member this week and I’ll give you one of my “Understanding…” products for free. Up to a $97 value. Just forward me your receipt.

  • I use recording as a pre-production tool, essentially. I write and try out ideas with recording, and get a bunch of rough demos together so that the ideas are there, and I’m not too concerned about the production value of the material yet. Once I’ve got enough material for an EP or a full-length, depending on what I’m going for, then I’ll go in, record everything that needs it (I tend to keep bass tracks, but drums and guitars almost always get re-recorded) and present a nice polished product at the end of it. 😀

    • That’s a great way to do it. I know a lot of people, especially those who do electronic music, who tend to blur the lines between pre-production and recording. I’m all for it, as long as it helps people move forward and finish projects.

  • Agreed too much preplanning is like analysis paralysis married to procrastination nation!  Planning + feel = much better.

  • Ericjean101

    Sounds like sound advice, no pun intended!