Recording Jazz Harp: Three Lessons I’ve Learned

Recording music is an art in itself, and every session is a learning experience.
Here are three great lessons I’ve learned that significantly impact the quality of a recording session:

1. The Importance of Tuning

I know that I have to tune my harp really carefully, and every time I’m feeling overwhelmed about the tuning, it’s almost obligatory between the recordings. I know it takes a lot of time to tune the harp, but it’s so petty if you’ve finished a beautiful song and at the end, you hear that one of your strings is a little bit out of tune. This can happen because you moved your harp or because the temperature in the studio is not exactly the same as in your home. But if you want a perfect recording, you have to tune your harp really carefully and listen to it all the time. Sometimes it can be out of tune even because I’ve played a kind of emotional solo and plucked the strings stronger. So every time I think I have to concentrate on my playing, I have to think about the tuning at the same time. The tuning never ends, but it’s worth it.

2. Embracing Change and Collaboration

I learned that even if you imagined your music, you wrote it, you rehearsed it, when you are in the studio, things can change. You must stay open to changes, new arrangements, and even listen to the other musicians when collaborating. Sometimes you are so in love with an idea of a piece that you can be wrong. It’s kind of surprising, but sometimes you need some new ears to listen to your music and to whisper you some new advice. And then the magic happens, and your composition becomes even more beautiful than you imagined, only because you share the music with others. So if I can give you advice: keep your mind open to others and their smart visions and proposals.

3. The Joy of Playing with Great Musicians

It is so good to play with friends, but it’s also great to play with friends and great musicians. This time I experienced it with the duo. I started playing with Cedric Le Donne (drummer and percussionist) a long time ago when he was 17 years old. I played with different groups and I found it easy to play in a trio (the Milevska trio). We recorded a lot of music together and we played all around the world with our compositions. Now it’s the first time we went to the studio as a duet. At first, it was a strange idea but I assure you that our future album will surprise you. The most surprising thing was that for the first time in my life, I just played our pieces and songs. Sometimes you need to be really concentrated or inspired, or sometimes you cannot achieve the solo that you wanted to record, but this time we played together all the pieces, and we played them twice and things were ready. Yesterday, we played a kind of waltz that I wrote four times, just to experiment with what would happen, and now we have four beautiful versions that we have to decide which one to put on the next album, but they are all beautiful. So this time I learned that anything is possible. Sometimes you can have a really tough time in the studio, but sometimes it can be really inspiring just playing and exploring all the sides of the jazz harp and improvisation. A big thanks to Greg Lampis, the sound engineer that made this happen, and now I am so glad that we finished it (almost ready) and I will be so happy to share our new music really soon.

Recording sessions teach us patience, flexibility, and the joy of collaboration. Each session is unique, with its challenges and triumphs. These three lessons have not only enriched my recent recording experience but will also continue to guide my future projects.
Stay tuned for more music and insights from the studio!

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