By Jeff Strong

Track sheets help you organize your songs and document your recording process. They allow you to return to a song that you started (or even finished) earlier and be able to get up to speed on it quickly. Sure, you can often add the notes into the audio recording program you’re using, but it can be handy (and safer) to have your notes in a separate place.

Here are some things you want to keep track of as you’re making tracks:

  • Track name: Name your track something related to what’s on it. Lead Vox is good, whereas Shure SM57 is not.

  • Input type: List whether it’s a direct connection (keyboard or bass guitar often goes in directly), a microphone, or an amplifier. You can also list the mic or amp that was used here.

  • Notes: Include notes about the amplifier settings, mic positions, and effects settings. Include a photo of the mic in the room, or amp or effects settings. This is the most crucial data for being able to re-create the sound of the track. If you can’t take a photo and reference or attach it here, be sure to take detailed notes of the various positions or settings.

  • Date/time: Enter the date that the track was recorded, as well as the time span (10 to 10:30 a.m., for instance).

  • Performer: This is really only necessary if you’re recording other people.

  • Engineer: Again, this is only necessary if you aren’t the only person engineering the song.

If you use a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Docs, save it in the same folder as your song (and include any related photos). This keeps your notes handy.