Reading is just a short jaunt along the M4 from our Wiltshire studios and so for once it was almost a leisurely start to the day. I even went as far as promising Shelly there would be breakfast. Well, when I say breakfast, I mean the delight of a Bacon sandwich from McDonalds. Whilst I am not a particular fan of any fast food chain, it has to be said that when you have been up for several hours and it’s still only 7am, almost any kind of breakfast food is appealing. In anticipation we turned off the M4 and followed the signs for Ikea. Whereupon we discovered the McDonalds restaurant was closed.
No matter I thought, maybe there will be something else, a Costa maybe. Or at worst most petrol filling stations have semi decent offerings in terms of croissant and coffee, some even freshly baked. But no, apparently not in Reading. We tried 3 different options and the choice was not limited it was non existent. By now, having used up all the available spare time faffing around, we headed to the school. Today’s recording was taking place in a new part of the school which essentially was a ‘conference room’. No matter, in today’s session we would only be recording Year Groups at a time rather than the whole school at once. On a more pleasing note, moments after we had unloaded our gear, one of the teachers came along and offered us a toasted bagel and mug of tea! This more than made up for the lack of breakfast elsewhere and we were soon set up and ready to record.
The Day began with a staff song. In most schools there are generally 3 options for times to record the staff song. First thing in the morning around 08.15, just before lunch or at the end of the day once the pupils have gone. For us first thing in the morning works best. I think in most cases this is also a lot easier for the school too as teachers tend to get involved in extra curricular activities after school.
The staff at Meadow Park had clearly spent a bit of time rehearsing their song and did a good job of their recording. A couple of takes and we had the song in the can ready for the pupils to come and take a turn in our mobile recording studio.
School CD Recording Session
All schools take a slightly different approach to the recording day but the overall scheme is usually a song per class or per year group depending on the size of the school. At Meadow Park each class sang a song giving us around 15 songs in total on the album. Despite the number of songs, as the pupils had been well rehearsed we ended up finishing before lunch. It helped that we were not recording in the school hall.
It’s not a problem to move our kit out the way for lunch, but it does usually mean we can only record up to about 11.30am at which point the hall has to be set up for lunch. By recording elsewhere we were able to carry on for another hour or so without interruption and had all songs recorded before 1pm.
As well as being efficient on the day, Meadow Park had also prepared and agreed all the CD artwork in advance. It therefore didn’t take long to get the CDs into production and delivered to the school within a few days. As well as CDs we now offer schools the chance to purchase the album online. If you would like to preview or purchase the album from Meadow Park you can find it on our online shop.