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What Are Recording Musicians?

Jim B.
Jim B.

Recording musicians are those people who are skilled at playing a musical instrument and can use those talents to contribute to musical recordings. These musicians may record consistently with the same people as members of a band or they may use their talents as session musicians backing a great variety of performers. The place where most recording musicians do their work is a recording studio, a building conducive to optimum sound recoding. Different musicians may be required for various recordings depending on the style of music being recorded.

Musicians can often play for themselves or for audience members in live performances. But the recording industry has been one of the major factors in the media world since sound was first recorded on primitive devices. As a result, this industry has provided a way for musicians to make a living applying their various skills to recorded music. The skills of recording musicians are absolutely essential to practically every song heard on the radio or included on a packaged recording like a compact disc.

Record companies usually employ several studio musicians.
Record companies usually employ several studio musicians.

Many recording musicians practice their craft as the members of a band. Especially within the realms of popular music like rock and roll or rhythm and blues, it is common for several musicians join together to record songs or albums worth of original material that can be made available for sale to the public. These musicians can build up impressive levels of rapport and chemistry over time, thus allowing them to create music that is both intricate in nature and powerful in impact.

Some musicians work primarily in the recording studio.
Some musicians work primarily in the recording studio.

There are other recording musicians who use their skills to contribute to a variety of recordings featuring numerous different artists. These musicians are sometimes called session musicians, since they are called upon for specific recording sessions. Such musicians often need to have the versatility to back many different types of music and complement the songwriters or bandleaders in whatever way is desired. Record producers, who are in charge of the overall sound of recordings, often use session musicians who have proven capable in past sessions on a consistent basis.

Musicians might perform as part of an orchestra.
Musicians might perform as part of an orchestra.

It is important for recording musicians to understand the intricacies of recording studios, the places where most musical recordings are made. Musicians skilled at recording know how to use studios and the various technologies available to them so that their instruments and voices produce the best sound when played back. They also have to be prepared to play a particular piece of music over and over to get just the right sound.

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Discussion Comments


@shell4life – It depends on where you live. If you are in a city with a large amount of musicians, it will be hard to find work, but if you are one of the few good ones in your area, it should be easy.

My brother is an awesome guitarist, and he worked in a few studios part-time before moving to Nashville. Since that is known as Music City, he could not find work in any studio, because the town was overrun with musical talent. Studios already had all the recording musicians they needed.

In the cities where he did find studio work, he called and asked to speak to the music producer. He then told him who he was, what he could do, and what he was looking for, and the producer told him to drop off a demo. Maybe you should call the producer first, because if he knows who you are and what you want, he will be more likely to listen to it.


I am a good guitarist and pianist, and I have always thought it would be cool to be a recording musician. I would love to work for a studio and come in whenever they need someone to play for a recording.

How hard is it to get work with a studio? I have considered dropping off my resume and a CD of my most impressive playing at a studio's front desk and seeing what happens.

I am currently working at a retail store, but my heart is in music. I would love to do this full-time, because it is what I really want to do with my life.


I used a studio musician one time to back up my singing, and I was very impressed by his ability. He played the piano, and he could change keys on command.

All I had to do was tell him the key of the song, and he would feel it out. He played by ear, so it was all about finding the right sound. I consider him a musical genius, because he took my songs, which he had never heard before, and created beautiful music for them.

He did far more than just play chords. He made the piano sound so full that I barely needed any other instruments. He filled nearly every space with sound.


I found out when I went to a studio to record a demo that record producers are perfectionists, and it takes a lot longer to get through one song that you might think. The producer wants the recording musicians to do the best work they can, and he often makes them play the song over and over. I figured I could just go in, sing through it a couple of times, and leave, but the producer had different ideas.

He did allow me to sing the song the first time all the way to the end, but he went back and had me sing over a few parts where my voice wasn't as strong or perfect as it could be. He was able to simply record over the imperfections by having me sing along to myself around that point, at which time he punched a button and wiped the old part out. He also made the studio guitarist change up some parts that he found uninteresting, and it was just as easy to record over these.

It does take a lot of patience to work as a recording artist. I have great respect for the studio musicians who have no problem making changes as the producer sees fit and are willing to play the same song as many times as necessary to get a good recording.

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    • Record companies usually employ several studio musicians.
      By: olly
      Record companies usually employ several studio musicians.
    • Some musicians work primarily in the recording studio.
      By: dmitrimaruta
      Some musicians work primarily in the recording studio.
    • Musicians might perform as part of an orchestra.
      By: Nikolai Sorokin
      Musicians might perform as part of an orchestra.
    • Musicians usually use a studio to records songs for albums.
      By: David Stuart
      Musicians usually use a studio to records songs for albums.