Get Ready To Record

Jeff Coffin

So, you want to record a project. What’s the “Where, When, and How” of it?

I have 10 solo CDs on my own label, Ear Up Records, and have produced and played on many others, so I’m familiar with the process.


Where will you record? Picking a place is important for the overall vibe of the project. Check some studios to see where it feels right for the type of music you will be making. Find out if they have the available gear (microphones, amplifiers, and drums) appropriate for the sound you want. For example, Blackbird in Nashville has a great reputation for having tons of gear, and it’s available for anyone to record there.


When will you record? When will you release the recording? Timing is important with a recording especially if you plan to tour afterward. Putting out a recording always takes more time than you think, or wish, it would. Plan accordingly.

If you want to do a summer tour, record in the fall or winter. Give yourself enough time (six months or so) to get things together in a way that really serves your vision. Put out the best product you can.


How will you get your music out to your fans? There are many platforms now, and digital downloads and streaming services are clearly leading the way. Some people are pressing vinyl, but personally I think that will last only until the streaming services offer high definition.

Also in the “How” is how will you pay for it? Crowdsourcing is one way to go, but be careful not to ask too much of your fans. You need to be willing to work for your product.

I find CDs to be a good source of revenue, and I eventually break even on the recording by selling them and other merchandise. Be creative with your goods, but sell them for a fair price.

And take advantage of your Internet and social media skills to get the word out.

Good luck!

About author

Jeff Coffin

Jeff Coffin is a three-time Grammy Award winning saxophonist, composer, educator, and author. He has been a band member of Dave Matthews Band since 2008.  Jeff also teaches at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Jeff has published “The Saxophone Book,” co-wrote “The Articulate Jazz Musician” with Caleb Chapman, and released “The Road Book” in late 2019. Jeff is a Yamaha and D’Addario Performing Artist and Clinician.  Visit and for more information.