Music & Entertainment

Recording a Song

Reba McEntire

Lesson time 12:19 min

Welcome to the recording studio! From working with producers, to conveying authentic emotion in your recording sessions, Reba explains her own unique recording process.

Reba McEntire
Teaches Country Music
Reba teaches her approach to making great country music and navigating the business in 21 video lessons.
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A music producer is hired by the record label and, or the singer to come in and be the overseer of the project. He's the one that coordinates the musicians to come in, coordinates his team, coordinates where the studio, which studio we're going to perform in-- recording in-- from start to finish. I love to record. That's one of my favorite processes in the music business. It's very creative. I like to get involved. I like to be 100% involved with it. I didn't get to do that when I first got started, but nowadays this is the way we do it. About six to eight months before we record, I let all my publishing company buddies, friends know that I'm going to be recording. I let the songwriters know. I let my friends know that have access to songwriters, and you never know where a song's going to come from. So then we get the musicians selected. We get into the studio, and we're all in the control room-- just like this-- with all the musicians, and the producer has gotten one of his lead musicians-- whoever's going to be the lead musician for that session-- he has written up a chart. And it's a number system. Like number one would be the key that the song is in. And then you go one, four, five, and on and on. That's way over my hair spray, I don't ever get into that. I just look at the lyrics. So we get that set, everybody's got the chart, and then we listen to the demo. And now the musicians might go to the producer, are you sure you want this break down here? Do you want to stop it? Do you want to kind of ease into it? What's the outro, what's the intro? And they get all that right. And so anybody's got any questions, they go through it. Now on a session, you can either have everybody that's going to be on the record in where we're going to go record in the big room-- we can have them that day-- or you can wait, and overdubbed the fiddle, dobro, banjo, harmonica, steel guitar. You can do that later if you just want to get the basics. Everybody does recording differently. They've got their ways of doing it. Some build tracks, but I like to pretty much have everybody in there. So we know if a fiddle doesn't sound good, we've got a steel guitar right there to play an instrument. A turnaround-- split it, maybe a fiddle and a steel guitar can take the instrumental and it sounds real good. So you've got the options right there while you're recording the song. So I go into my little soundproof booth, and I'm sitting there waiting patiently until everybody gets their parts, and they're all tuned up ready to go. All musicians are in one big room, producer is in this control room, and I'm in my soundproof booth. Say that three times. And then we get to go. Let's run it. Now I sing it three or four times while my voice is warmed up, and then we can do what is called a vocal comp. And I sit with the engineer, s...

For Love of Country

You know her songs. Her Oklahoma charm. Now learn directly from Reba in her first-ever online class. Join her as she records a never-before-heard song, creates a new acoustic version of Fancy, breaks down her hits, and delivers emotional performances on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. This is more than a music class. This is Reba's life, business, and country music MasterClass.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Reba gives me the confidence and the motivation to get out there and make my dreams a reality!

it's a very good masterclass for a beginner in this business!

I love this class!!! It's like sitting down and having a great talk with someone you admire and respect. And I sure do!!

What a brilliant woman and role model. Reba's insight and information goes far beyond the music industry and into excellent lessons in life.


A fellow student

As a vocal teacher, I find it interesting the way Reba describes her voice "placement". Country music has different tonal and resonance qualities than pop and classical or jazz singing. It is also interesting to me that she mentions twice about not singing in the "back of the throat" and equates it with lack of clarity in pronunciation. Classical and choral training is all about a very open "back of the throat" and those musicians still take enunciation very seriously. On the other hand, I suppose a country artist singing with a more open sound wouldn't be successful in that particular genre. It's super helpful as vocalists to know your way around stylings and what techniques it may require of the voice.

James E.

This is a fine lesson for a fan of vocal and instrumental music to understand. Previous lessons also make the major points of being a vocal musician.

A fellow student

i liked it a lot. I have a song i want to record, called America. My master teacher has incredible talent .

A fellow student

i sing every morning to the Lord and I imagine to girls. I am not ready to go on stage. I write the melody and chords on my guitar. All my songs are copyrighted except my ten most recent, I really respect artists in music. It is a special gift. I hope i learn to sing better by enjoying your master instruction. Thank you

Margaret M.

Just listened to Reba's version of "Sweet Music Man" for the first time. Amazing! What an interpretation. Really enjoyed the story of how it came together. The phrasing is amazing--intelligent, subtle, and heartfelt. I can't sing at all, btw--so glad others can! :)

A fellow student

Larry C - just soaking in everything she says. she is so professional and so good yet humble enough to still learn from others.

A fellow student

I learned that warming up by singing is probably not as good for me as doing the exercises :) and that I should sing everyday just to warm up. I'm pretty sure that I will never sing in a club again (other than the occasional jam) but singing in my studio to a live online audience in a virtual world is still one of my favorite things to do. Love it!

Cheryl J.

Learning the process and never spent much time on warming up. Always showed up, opened my mouth and la la la la la. As a group you warm up together. Have to try out her suggestions.


What I learned was from the last lesson (#3) was the importance of warming up the vocal cords and from this one about avoiding some food items before the recording session. Great insight. Thanks Reba.

Francisco D.

ICE TEA "...because I like it" Such candor and no-non sense advice—do what works for you! SWEET MUSIC MAN Not sure I'd heard this song before, or at least I didn't have an emotional memory or relationship with it. I decided to first hear Rebba's version. Then I listened to Kenny's. And then I found and listened to a live performance by Alison and Dolly. IMHO this recording doesn't capture Reba's unique voice, nor conveys the sentiment of the song the way she usually does in her records. Kenny's version is a gentle yet poignant reminder to himself—to any singer—of who he's as a song writer and singer—as a music man. It's such a beautiful match of voice, sentiment, and lyrics. Reba's cover version is too soft and gentle for her voice and for the perspective that she could have conveyed to either the music man in the song or herself as a music woman herself. It wasn't until about one minute into the song that I could hear the "Reba factor" in her voice, but then it dwindled off and on. Her version is a bit formal of a dialogue and lacks that mix of intimate reproach and longing that her voice can so masterfully convey. Letting some of that classic irreverent Reba feeling come through could have been more appropriate and powerful for this song. Interestingly, I found some of that feeling in the live performance that Alison and Dolly did together. There was a strength and authenticity to their voices. They're at once paying homage yet challenging him to sing his song. And they demand that of him because no one else does it the way he does—that kind of intimate reproach is what Reba is so good at, yet that feeling didn't come across in her version for me.