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Recording “Great Things You Have Done” (part two)

While Ohio was under a “Stay-At-Home” order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided it would be a perfect time for us to record a song together as a family. Thankfully, our home is also the location of Taylor’s Playground Recording Studio.

We took a few pictures throughout the process and had everyone speak into the camera each day, simply talking about their experience. The end result is a song that we are pretty proud of and a fun family memory that we will not soon forget.

We hope that our little recording adventure, as well as the song that was created, will be a blessing to you. God truly has done great things and is worthy of our worship.

DAY TWO started off with some epic drum editing. I am not the world’s greatest drummer, and I haven’t really played the drums in a while, so I had quite a bit of editing to do. The drums are the foundation for the song. All of the other instrumentation will be built upon the foundation of the (hopefully) tightly edited drums.

I spent the morning hours editing the drums that had been recorded the night before. Piper and Eden pitched in and “helped” along the way. They are still in school, so they were only able to help a little here and there between doing their regular schoolwork. (In reality, only Piper is actually old enough to be in school, but Eden is quite convinced that she is, too… in fact, I’m pretty sure that she believes herself to be the Superintendent.)

Once the drums were edited, we were ready to add some instrumentation.

I typically prefer to record the lead vocals towards the end of a project, because having a fuller sound with more instrumentation usually provides a better vocal performance. However, since the kids would be playing instruments on this song, and they didn’t really know the song very well, I decided to record the lead vocals early on as a way of helping their instrumental performance. I think that was a good idea. I figured I could always re-record the vocals again at the end, if needed.

Jodi engineered the vocal recording. That basically means that she sat in the “Control Room” overseeing the recording session while I was in the “Live Room” singing my little heart out. She rocked it.

Piper recorded the piano, and she played so well. I was super proud of her. Even though she played so well, we decided to spend some time editing her part to make it an even better performance. The piano is by far the easiest instrument to edit. All of the information from her performance was recorded as “MIDI” information.

MIDI is short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. In plain terms, that basically means that everything is digital and can easily be manipulated, molded, and moved to sound completely different. You can easily change the timing of the performance, change the notes that were played, and even change the entire sound of the instrument with the click of a button. You think the part would sound better played on a bagpipe rather than on the piano? Easy. Click. Done.

Of course, accomplishing these tasks does require a basic level of understanding… so I spent some time teaching. I projected the computer screen onto our basement wall and gave a basic overview, then I let the kids do the editing. I think they really enjoyed it.

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