September 17, 2010 Clayton, CA Having a recording studio in one's home is anything but unusual nowadays. Seems like virtually every musician has some sort of digital recording setup that allows them to make good sounding recordings at home. That said, it takes talented people to know and navigate their way through the complex world of recording. Proper microphones and their best placement for any given recording session, room acoustics, and a healthy dose of knowledge of recording equipment and electronics only begin to describe the skills required to be a good recording engineer. Five years ago, I took the two-year "Recording Arts" program offered at nearby Los Medanos College here in Northern California. I wanted to better learn the ins and outs of recording music, and figured I'd meet some talented students in the process. Jon Lesher, a young man about half my age, caught my attention early on in the program. Soft spoken but alert and intelligent, I always got the feeling that unlike some of us taking the classes, Jon actually grasped and could apply the information as presented by the teachers. I just had a hunch about him. I figured that Jon could help me build and operate my home studio, and help me make records in the future. As we completed the program of study, I made sure that I got his contact information. Soon thereafter, I began calling on Jon for any number of recording projects, and to help me secure the best recording equipment for my studio. Jon immediately proved himself to be both reliable as well as a good problem solver when recording related issues would crop up. Jon is also a musician - a fine guitarist. He plays lead guitar for the progressive rock bank known as Add Moss. His good ears help his musicianship as well as his engineering and music production skills. For nearly a year, Jon and I have been working on a Christmas CD that I have long hoped to record. After many hours of painstaking labor and collaboration, we're perhaps 75% of the way finished with the making of this record. Jon's skills have proven invaluable. Tentatively titled "Piano Christmas," this new record will feature a couple original Christmas songs along with some well known Christmas standards. It will also include some obscure Christmas songs that I love. Just like my previous five albums recorded over the past 10 years, this record will feature piano based instrumental music. It will also include my first recording with vocals in many years, a song I wrote titled "Let's Trim The Christmas Tree." Bass, drums, "sleigh bells," and children's voices grace this recording, and I can't wait to get it out there for public consumption. We still have some finishing touches to add to the record: guitar and harmonica parts, a possible violin overdub, and maybe another sweetener or two, followed by mixing and mastering. But at least much of the work is done. Jon proved worthy of the task of recording an acoustic grand piano and editing the music (or digital data) into legitimate songs. A grand piano is considered one of the most difficult instruments to record, due to its inherent complex nature and construction. From powerful "sound boards" to an extremely wide range of frequencies, getting a good, true piano sound down on records has baffled many an engineer over the years. Jon has an inherent ability to work with sound, tweaking levels and frequencies here and there as needed to make the best recordings possible. Often a two-inch variation in the placement of microphones near the piano strings can greatly alter the sound of the recording. With so many strings and notes sounding on a piano, often simultaneously, the editing of different "takes" into a good, listenable piece of music requires patience and creativity. Again, Jon has proven to be more than capable, getting a lovely piano sound out of my Yamaha grand piano that sits in our living room. While we'll both be happy to have this longer than expected project behind us, I must say that I really enjoy working with Jon. He's got a good sense of humor, and his even keeled personality serves him well in overcoming equipment glitches and other recording issues that inevitably arise. For me, working with a young man in his mid-20's helps provide new energy and perspective. Having grown up in the digital era of recording, Jon is on top of all the latest changes in recording technology and software. I can't help but think that in another 10-20 years, Jon Lesher will be a well known name in the music and recording industry. It's fun to work with a young man who's not only highly talented, but who loves music and recording as much as I do. Thanks, Jon. Let's finish our project and get it out there. Then we can start another... Jim Hudak

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Jim Hudak

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