Friday Lessons: Recording Kids' Songs

This week Jazzabaloo went into the studio to finish up a recording project.

We were hired to do an anti-bullying song for elementary school students.  I'd share the track with you but I don't own the copyright.

Boy was it a fun project! 

Initially I wasn't sure where the song was going to go.  It had a simple set of lyrics that repeated.  Like 10 times.  But the sound engineer (shout out to Mark Derryberry!) suggested we start to layer in additional voices to make it sound like children joining in.  

Where were these additional voices to be found?  Well, since it isn't acceptable to grab other people's children from the park, we had to become those children's voices ourselves.  The two other guys in the band, Dustin and Mike, as well as myself, were tasked with conjuring the sound of singing children.

We were together in the studio dancing, laughing and pumping each other up.  We sounded great, er, like slightly-out-of-tune-yet-enthusiastic children.  

It was effective.  The song reaches a fever pitch by the end.  I imagine school children across the country becoming extremely hyperactive shortly before being returned to their classroom teacher.  A small inconvenience for teaching them that being a friend to all is TOTALLY AWESOME!

Here's what I learned in the studio, that creating character voices was made easier by understanding my instrument.  In thinking about the lead vocals I went for a bubbly, pop styled voice.  It was a chest dominant mix with lots of scooping and a little vocal fry.  To get a little girl's voice, I placed my voice in head register, slightly nasal, and let go of tonal precision.  Ha!

Knowing how your voice functions helps you to make choices that suit the music you're performing.  And that can lead to some not-so-serious fun.

Friday Lessons are where I talk about practicing, performing and other aspects of being a life-long learner of music.  Appearing most Fridays.