How to Arrange a Song After You've Recorded!

There are so many points in the process of writing a song and recording it where you can bog down and throw your hands in the air and give up.  One in particular is the arrangement of the song.  For some odd reason, bands and songwriters tend to suck at arranging.  They'll get the orchestration down pat but want every single instrument playing along at full capacity at all times.  You have to let the song breathe, man!

I know a ton of musicians who have had an entire projects worth of material ready to be recorded, but they don't want to go into the studio until it's perfection.  They want to pay for the fewest hours possible and do all of the arranging up front so all the studio has to do is record and mix.  But it doesn't have to be that way.  Often the studio engineer can act as a producer and even help solve this issue during the mixing stage.

What's more important?  Paying for a few extra hours or never getting your album recorded?

The fact is, all you need to do is go in there and lay down your tracks, give a few vocal options, and you're out the door.  The rest can be done in post-production.  This was possible even in the 60's when cutting up magnetic tape reels, and it's even easier with the advent of modern digital audio workstations and their awesome multi-track layouts.

how to arrange a song in post-production

Not a single thing wrong with this. But it's not done!

The band Yes is notorious for only knowing the basic outline of a song and then going into the studio and improvising a million variations.  Then they chop it all together and layer it in random ways and boom, they end up with the most mind blowing songs you've ever heard.

Would you believe that they actually learn the studio versions of their songs AFTER they've recorded them?

So don't bog down at this point.  View your songs like building blocks.  Once you have the blocks, you can move them around and mix-and-match them at your leisure.  But you have to create the blocks first.

Arranging A Song in Post-Production

Check this out.  Ken Lewis is the man with a lot of amazing credits to his name (16 Grammy's, 60 #1 Hits, etc.).  He runs AudioSchoolOnline.com where you can purchase a lot of video and PDF tutorials where he records some of his work for a ton of the richest musicians out there..  He shares some for free so you can get a taste, and I want to show you one of those today.

Ken shows you how to take a song with all of the elements firing on full-throttle the whole time and begin to chop it down to create special moments of ear-candy.  Beyond just fashioning the dopest drops you've ever heard, he teaches you how to slowly build energy through verses back to the choruses, while having each chorus grow in intensity and energy.

By the end of your song, your listener should be trying to find their bearings as they re-enter this universe.  They need to have been lost in your cosmos of pulsing, growing, fading, ebbing and flowing energy!  And it's not hard to achieve.

And it's especially not a reason to postpone recording!  You can arrange your track in post-production!