Soup To Nuts Seminar

Soup To Nuts: Recording A Cappella
An Intensive Week-long Seminar by Deke Sharon and Bill Hare.
Last session - January 6-10, 2014.
Next session - January, 2015 (proposed).
Spend 5 days in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area learning the correct way to approach an album, arrange for an album, alter existing arrangements for recording, navigate pre production, create guide tracks, record backgrounds, track and loop vocal percussion, get a great solo performance, mix, master, press and sell your recordings.

During the first day at Deke Sharon's San Francisco home the focus will be on everything that needs to happen before you get into the studio, as preparation will make a significant difference in the quality of your recording. This world-renowned arranger, singer, and overall Aca-God will open your eyes to where a recording REALLY starts - well before you see a microphone!

You will learn about all of the logistical, political, and emotional pitfalls involved in the process, and just this valuable info alone will save your group a lot of strife, tears, and cash!

Group logistics and infrastructure will be discussed, to make sure you have a good hierarchy in place to get the project done. In addition, all of the business aspects of your album will be discussed, including legalities and the technical side of pressing (contacting a company, setting up an account, paying for mechanical royalties). There's a significant amount of non-music that needs to happen to make a great recording.

And then there's "Pre-production:" Rehearsal techniques will be covered and shown through an enjoyable process. After choosing a song (via email, before the seminar), all attendees, being singers, will form an a cappella group and learn a custom arrangement. Initially, everyone will work on a version of the song as a "live" arrangement, and then they'll learn how to prepare for the process of singing in the studio, with arrangement augmentation ideas saved to use in the studio during the recording process.

There were two main things that I took away from the seminar. One was the immense body of knowledge I gained from the one week with you guys. Though at the time, I wasn't fully fluent in Pro Tools, I still came to better understand how to track people effectively, how to turn a live arrangement into a studio arrangement, how to get good solos out of people and overall, how to build a song from the ground up from nothing into a finished product. And monitoring it each step of the way as it slowly comes together in front of my eyes. The other thing I took away was the, "Oh My God, We Can ACTUALLY Do This" aspect. To just see your studio and see you recording people in action took the abstract 'let's do an album' to the reality of 'we are about to do this and I see and understand how it is possible'. So, aside from the techniques and tricks I took away. the seminar was helpful because it made me feel like the project was actually in action and not overly daunting. Soon we will be making tracks just like Mexican Wine and producing tracks of that quality is within our reach. - Ian Goldstein.

Ian Goldstein at the console during Soup To Nuts 2005 - Ian went on to produce 2 great albums for his group, Colorado College Back Row, landing a coveted spot on BOCA, the opening track on the "Voices Only" compilation, as well as an Honorable Mention in RARB's "Picks of 2006"! Congratulations, Ian! "Mexican Wine", which Ian refers to in his statement, was our class project that week - you can hear it here.

Throughout the day there will also be a number of focused discussions: what makes a great "album?" How should you choose which songs to record? How should you pace your recording project? How can you choose an appropriate album title? Generate excellent album art? Marshall your campus resources to your benefit? At the end of the first day in San Francisco your mind (and notebooks) will be full, and you'll be ready for four days of intensive recording and mixing in Bill Hare's state of the art a cappella studio in the hills above Silicon Valley. Pushing buttons is the least of it...

Microphone usage and technique, how to get the best out of the worst (as well as best) singers, adding parts "on the fly", how to make tracks with attitude, character, and feel, optimizing the singer's cue, studio psychology (i.e. tricking singers into doing things they don't think they are capable of), editing, fixing, mixing, a zillion other things - and yes, all the button-pushing you'll want or need as well!

I flew from England to attend and it was worth every penny. My only regret is that I didn't attend this BEFORE I did my group's CD last summer! It would have saved me oh-my-God SO many sleepless nights and we would have had a much better CD. But, on the other hand, it does mean I'll be able to do a direct before/after comparison with the stuff I am recording at the moment!! Best thing since sliced bread, this seminar. - Suzannah Merchant - Oxford University In The Pink.

But this course is not about the technology - that's really the easiest part - it's about using these tools musically and artistically. This is the part most people miss when distracted by the recording process itself (even when in a professional recording studio with an engineer to take care of all the techie stuff), and besides being more fun and fulfilling for your group, it will also be that much more for the listener!

When it all comes down to it, the information you learn here will save your group thousands of dollars, but even more valuable is that you won't have people flunking out of school or going bonkers by doing hundreds of hours of extra unnecessary work! Don't try to "rescue" the project afterwards (which we see WAY too often, maybe even on YOUR last project), do it right from the start - your album will sound MUCH better, and actually be cheaper as well as a more pleasant memory for all involved!

Soup to Nuts has changed the way I look at a cappella. After one week of non-stop mentoring from two of the foremost figures in the a cappella community, not to mention the collaboration with singers from around the world, I can't wait to get back to my group at home and take us to the next level. Every one of my fellow S2N crew had valuable insight on our project and we've created a network that will last the rest of our lives. I am so happy that I did Soup to Nuts - would do it again in a heartbeat! - Patrick Volker, Music Teacher, George Washington High School, Chicago, IL.

The Nuts and Bolts of Soup To Nuts

Q: How much does it cost?
A: The course costs $1750 per participant, with a maximum class size of 8, though we will try to keep it down to 7 if possible. There will be a $250 incentive bonus for those who register before November 1, which will of course bring the cost down to $1500. The class will actually "start" well before the day when we finally all meet in person. We will have discussions via a Yahoo group and get a better feel for each individual's strengths and areas in need of improvement. We'll also be able to better talk about logistics, rooming arrangements, etc., during this time.

Q: Which airport should I fly into?
A: San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is nearest to Deke, San Jose International Airport (SJC) is nearer to Bill (Bill and Deke live about an hour apart by car). Again, by getting registered early, we can coordinate all of this online so that things run as smoothly as possible in terms of
getting people to and from the seminar locations.

Q: Are there hotels nearby?
A: Yes, there are clean, inexpensive hotels near to each location.

Q: How can I afford to do this? I'm just a poor college student!
A: This is really an investment for your group to make, in our opinion. Your group has already been bleeding money for years in this process. As stated above, we are confident that what you take away from here will save your group thousands of dollars, create a MUCH better end result, as well as sell more product as the world takes notice of your work! The cost of this (including travel and accommodations) could come out of a group's album budget, and the group would still come out ahead financially, let alone the other obvious benefits it would receive. Also note that a number of our attendees have traveled from as far as Australia and Norway just to
take this course! If it was worth the trip for them (and it was!), you can't use the "distance" excuse! ;-)

To register, or if you have any other questions, please contact Deke and Bill directly.

See our 2007 class in action! | Hear our 2008 Class Project! | Our Winter 2009 Class Page! | Hear our Summer 2009 Class Projects! | Listen to The Mouth Off Show special Soup To Nuts Edition! | Cy Cerrano put a bunch of video clips up from the Summer 2009 S2N! | Hear and see our 2010 Class Projects!

Our Soup To Nuts projects are on iTunes! From here on out, S2N projects will be for sale on iTunes (as part of the "marketing" part of the course. All proceeds from sales will be divided between the attendees, so they can actually see the result of this (and earn some money back toward their expenses)! Visit Soup To Nuts on iTunes.