Recording music is as much of a learning experience for a musician as writing and performing.

Studio owner, recording engineer and sometimes producer Jim Pavett said it's his goal to help musicians do that without getting in the way of their creative process.

"It depends what the person is looking for," Pavett says of his role in recording sessions at his Allusion Studios, 248 W. Elm St.

The studio has been used on hundreds of recordings over the last 27 years, both by local and national acts, and even spoken-word projects and voice-overs for commercials (including doctors Andrew Weil's and Steven Gurgevich's recent hypnosis CD and actor George Clooney's voice-over for a commercial.)

It's a producer's job to work with the artist and engineer to get a preconceived idea of what a finished song should sound like and put it onto tape - or in the case of a modern digital studio like Pavett's, onto digital media.

But many groups don't have a professional producer, and Pavett said he often ends up wearing both hats.

"The way I produce, no matter what, even if I was being paid thousands of dollars as a producer, I was always going to be trying to produce the artist's vision" of what the finished recording of a song should sound like, Pavett said.

Since nearly all musicians these days, even beginners, have some experience with home recording - whether a free simple program that came with their laptop or a pro-quality home system - Pavett said that can be an asset or a problem.

That home-recording experience can help some musicians feel at home in a professional studio, or it might mean getting over some "fads and myths" about recording, he said.

In the end, however, it isn't a matter of age that determines how things turn out.

Pavett said he's had teenage artists come in and leave with a professional-level recording.

Dan Sorenson