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How I Write and Record
Mark D. Miller

Many people have asked how I do it. They want to know how I can write so many songs and record all the parts myself. My simple answer is, “Studying music in college didn’t hurt.” Teaching for over thirty years has also made a difference. My vast experience as a performer has been a factor as well. In essence, I don’t really know how I do it. Knowledge and experience are only aspects. I think there has to be a God given talent to begin with.

I write and record the song on the same day. It’s always a day when I have nothing scheduled the following day, so I don’t get a chance to record as often as I would like. The music always comes first. I start by noodling on the guitar or the piano and take it from there. Once I have a general idea, I use my music composition software to write it down and then add and tweak the other parts. It is much faster than writing the parts by hand and the software allows me to listen to the interaction between the instruments. The drums are the only part I do not write down. Once I am satisfied, I print a hard copy of the music to read from.

I record to a click track and play the parts as written with occasional elaborations. The instrument recording order varies but the drums are always last. While recording I start to get a sense for the lyrics but usually don’t write them until everything else is tracked. I sometimes become impatient after recording the music and rush through the lyrics.

The vocal and harmony parts complete the recording. I do a rough mix and pack it in for the day. I think One of Twelve Out There  represents one of my best mixing attempts. In comparison to recording, mixing accounts for 90% of the time commitment. I spend many hours on each song over the course of the weeks and months that follow. I have over compensated some mixes in the past. “Keep it Simple” and “Suite for Classical Guitar and Rock Band” are good examples of this over compensation.
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