Today I’m going to talk about my recording process for Carolaoke Music Mondays. There is a reason why birds are not part of the audio engineer’s recording suite, I get that now. I have three birds (1 Caique, 2 parakeets) and they are not quiet. They shouldn’t be, they’re birds singing songs and screaming to their special planet the sun all day. But this doesn’t exactly make for a good environment to record vocals in. Which means I’ve had to seriously step up my bird training skills lately in order to navigate between screams so I can record during the day. My small parrot Toby is only 8 yrs old but he had 5 other owners before we rescued him and he’s been intensely traumatized by that. After 3 years, he’s finally letting me pet his head and scratch his neck but he remains very guarded and cautious. I admit it hurts that he still doesn’t fully trust me yet or screams over and over again when I leave the room, but I’m always reminding myself that I have no idea what his past was like. Considering he freaks out around brooms, loud noises, loud talking and sudden hand motions, I’m assuming he was part of some really bad scenes. So! The good news is that birds like routines and through this pandemic and quarantine, I have started to notice that Toby likes Music Mondays! The routine is, he wakes up with one single loud scream every morning at 7:00am. He gets his breakfast and snacks prepped shortly after which means he’s pretty quiet for about an hour eating his snacks. Then he’s ready to be really loud and annoying for attention. Any attention is good attention! So we’ve been playing the good attention verses bad attention game a lot lately and let me tell you he’s really good at his side of the attention game.
On Music Mondays he and his cart are outside the room I record in but with the door open so he can see me at all times. If he can’t see me, there will be screams that can wake the dead for days. So as I test out levels and vocals, I let him scream it out and record anyway. If he gets too out of hand once I decide that I’m recording for real, I shut the door and say “NO.” And continue on ignoring him, still singing, until he’s quiet. Then I open the door, praise him and he’s happy and quiet for pretty much the rest of the day. Soon we will try harness training so I can take him outside safely. It also has to be warm enough to take him outside (75F) for him to realize that the reward is going outside for wearing a silly and probably uncomfortable outfit. That’s the plan anyway. Please enjoy my Carolaoke scratch track of KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”. Toby was excellent being mild mannered and quiet this Music Monday and deserves a shoutout! (ironically)