Keith Everette Smith

Producer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist

Composers and Inspiration

I played a concert for the Presbyterian Church of the Master Sunday night. It was fun. It was pretty much a classical gig playing trumpet. I really miss classical music. That used to be most of what I did. I played in orchestras, concert bands and many brass ensembles growing up. Though my personality ultimately didn’t fit in with this crowd, as a trumpet player, I am probably best at this style. For this reason, it’s nice to play this music on occasion.

The conductor’s name was John Elg. He was a FANTASTIC conductor and really had the church choir sounding fantastic. What I noticed about John was his inspiring personality. His gestures, smiles, and attitude begged you to play with the emotion that he was portraying. This got me thinking about record production. I consider myself a good producer in part because of the conductors I sat under through the years. I watched these men (and women) turn a bunch of individual musicians into a single unit, making beautiful music together. It was amazing.

One thing I remember is how 2 conductors specifically would use word pictures to describe the emotion for which a part should be performed. It was amazing how an emotion could be imparted on someone else and an emotional musical performance would result. I’ve tried to use this technique on several occasions in the studio. Correct notes has never been good enough for me. You MUST inspire me with the notes. With vocalists, I may say “Sing beyond the microphone, like you’re singing at a rock concert in front of 50,000 people!” Or I might say, “Sing delicately as if you were whispering to a person you love.” These things really work. When the mind is focused on the record button or the microphone in front of them, I’d venture to say that you will never received the most powerful performance possible.

All that to say, if you want to produce exciting, emotional music, head to your local college and watch a conductor interact with his ensemble. You’ll learn very useful tips for inspiring the musicians you are producing!