Song Acclimation. What is it?
I call the above “song acclimation” because we are slowly “wrapping our arms around the song” with no definitive commitment with respect to anything non-primary (i.e. basic melody, main lyrical message, etc). Acclimation to me is more than a warm up but less than a formal, rigid way about committing to major decisions regarding the song-making.
I usually start a new session in my DAW, kick off a piano VST and start entering (recording) midi notes. However feeding audio to the DAW’s session with a guitar for example or other instrument is also equally useful. When I work with MIDI and a piano VST utilizing a controller I work on setting the tempo, signature etc. and start playing the song with a click track on. I go through a few overlapping rounds of midi entries and then I start the refinement. Quantizing and other MIDI property tools are heavily used. Being “up close and very personal” with the midi editor is a must through this phase. Many times a very tedious matter but equally very necessary. Being a good craftsman requires a lot of hard work that can be characterized as tedious but it does not feel that way to you because….you love what you do. This is your song. Your creation. Your baby.
Many times I will even sing the song into a mic and into the DAW’s session, on top of the previously recorded MIDI sessions. I still enter the right hand on the piano (main melody most of the times), before the vocals, but take the volume of the corresponding track/s down so that it helps me concentrate on my singing. Other times the right hand distracts me so I take it out. I do some rudimentary mixing and the demo is ready to send to the singer of my choice.
Song acclimation? Check.