Last week we were once again driving up the M5 and M6 to the North West corner of England. This time our destination was Sherdley Primary School in St Helens. Arriving at our usual time of 07.30 in order to get unloaded and set up in the school hall, I was greeted by the teacher in charge of proceedings for the day. Once signed in and DBS checked etc, all the kit was moved into the hall and I set about organising the microphones for another day of recording.
Setting up for the Recording
This particular session was to be a combination of backing tracks (via a school laptop) and some tracks played on a Roland keyboard by the music teacher. Curiously however this particular keyboard had a habit of suddenly going out of tune! This struck me as a particularly bizarre habit for a fairly decent looking Roland keyboard. I confidently hooked it up to our Pre Amp to take a Direct feed and played a few notes. Shortly later the keyboard started sounding out of tune! Quite bizarre!
Fortunately, however, the teacher had a solution for this which was to hook his keyboard up to a laptop running Main Stage. We then took an output from his Audio interface and the keyboard used the computer as a synthesiser which worked perfectly well. In the 15 years of doing this job this is the first time we have come across a digital keyboard which goes out of tune!
Once everything was properly cabled in and a reliable solution for keeping the keyboard in tune was in place, the first groups of children started to arrive. Like the majority of our school recordings Sherdley had chosen to record songs by year group. In addition, there were a couple of instrumental groups, a choir and a staff song.
As you can see from the above schedule we generally allow 20 minutes per group / song. In most cases this means we run on time or more usually slightly ahead of schedule. This gives enough time to get children in and out of the hall and have a couple of goes at each song. In the majority of cases a lot of groups record in just one take after a short practice – mostly this is for us to set levels.
This year we have recorded far more staff songs than in previous years. Almost every school this Christmas has recorded a staff song. We think this is a great idea – after all why shouldn’t the staff be on their school CD?
We had a great time recording on location at Sherdley Primary School in St Helens and hope the school enjoy their CD when it arrives in a few days time. If you would like to find out how easy it is to record a CD at your Primary School then please give us a call on 01225 302143. Alternatively you can click here to email us.