School Recording at Ark Academy, London

Ark Academy london

Our school recordings take us all over the UK, which often means an early start.   Being based in the South West, near Bath, I always tend to think that West London is not actually that far.  A quick trip down the M4 before anyone else is up and then you have arrived.  Of course what I usually forget to factor in is that by 6.30am the outskirts of London starts to get busy.  No matter, I had allowed plenty of time and arrived at Ark Academy School in Wembley just before 07.30am.  Sadly on this occasion there hadnt been time to stop for breakfast, but I did note the presence of a nearby Asda which meant I could at least hope to find some lunch!   On arrival at the school, however, there was a small problem.   Everything was locked, and there was no obvious car park.

school access

Locked out

Contacting the customer revealed that my main contact wasn’t planning to arrive until 08.15 and apparently was hoping someone else would let me in.  With no choice I simply had to wait and hope someone would arrive soon.   Finally just before 08.00 I managed to get access to the school although initially it wasn’t clear where the recording was to take place. Nevertheless I at least got the kit unloaded and into the reception area.

Setting up

Fortunately my contact arrived before much longer and I was shown to the hall where we were to be recording.  As is often the case, breakfast club was in full swing but no matter. It is easy enough to set up around breakfast club.   Fortunately the school weren’t ready to record until a little after 9am so I was still set up and ready in good time.

School Hall London

School Hall

Recording Session

The recording progressed well at Ark Academy and the teachers were all very friendly and welcoming.   After we had recorded a few songs it was time for break and so I was shown to the staff room and introduced to the kettle and tea making facilities!  This is always a welcome site, particularly when I have left home at 4am and may or may not have had any breakfast!

coffee mug

Suitable mug?

We carried on recording for as long as possible throughout the morning and then it was time to break for lunch.   Obviously, like most schools the school hall was also to be used for lunch.   Invariably, particularly in the bigger schools the lunch tables take up virtually all the hall.   Generally speaking, however, we can move our kit to one side so it is sufficiently out of the way to allow the kitchen staff to set up the dining tables.

I duly obliged and moved the kit to one side although the tables were being put rather close to the kit on this occasion. As a result, some of the more sensitive kit (microphones etc) was taken down and boxed up for protection.

lunchtime recording

Moving the kit to one side


Having sorted out the recording kit, I then decided to go and investigate the options for lunch.  As mentioned earlier, not far from the school there was an Asda (other supermarkets are available – although not in this exact location!).   Discovering it also had a cafe I wandered over there.   As with most schools the ‘break for lunch’ usually occurs around 11.30am in order to let the kitchen staff set up the tables.  Therefore I arrived in the Asda cafe around 11.45am.  I was greeted with the sight of fresh lunch options laid out in the cabinet.

Asda Lunch

Lunch at Asda

Whilst maybe not fine dining this was a welcome sight.  Imagine my surprise then when I was told that I couldnt order lunch because it wasnt 12 noon..   Seriously!  The fact the food was there all nicely hot was apparently not a factor.  It was not 12 noon therefore the idiot jobsworth behind the counter couldn’t server lunch.  I was only able to have breakfast.   I therefore had to settle for a cooked breakfast – the egg and bacon was cooked to order – the mushrooms were left over from hours ago and there was no cooked tomato. Taking tomato from the lunch tomato was again not an option.

I was too hungry to bother complaining. But seriously, Dear Asda, if you are reading this, quite frankly this is the most ridiculous policy I have ever come across.   However, time was short, I was hungry so breakfast it was!  What a shame the lunch had to sit there getting cold before anyone was allowed to serve it!

Afternoon Session

Schools vary as to whether they want to record just in the morning or continue into the afternoon.   For us it doesn’t matter which option works best for you. There is some advantage to getting it all done in the morning – less disruption for your school timetable and also means we can clear out the way for lunch.  But equally sometimes various year groups or classes have other activities so can only record in the afternoon.

On this particular occasion we continued until 4pm because there was also a staff / parent choir to record at the end of the school day.  Overall, it was a very successful day of recording at Ark Academy in Wembley.  We have yet to receive any artwork from the school so the album cannot yet go into production.  This is a bit of a shame as we like to try and keep things moving and most schools tend to give us the artwork on the day of the recording.  Nevertheless we hope the school will produce something soon so we can prepare the CDs and get them sent to the pupils and parents.

If you would like to find out just how easy it is to record a CD or digital album at your school then please click here to email us.  You can also contact us by phone on 01225 302143