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Sound therapy in a professional recording studio - Grzegorz Wadowski

The Wrocław-Psie Pole Mental Health Center is the first medical facility in Poland with its own recording studio, where patients will learn the possibilities of their own voice and will record songs and other audiovisual materials. Magda Wieteska talks to Grzegorz Wadowski, who conducts sound therapy at the Patient's Club.

How did the studio come about?

I learned about the idea of creating a sound recording studio at the Mental Health Center for the Psie Pole district of Wrocław at the end of February 2022. Then I was asked the question: "What elements are necessary to create a fully functional sound recording studio?". "It's very simple, because to create such a studio you only need three elements, namely: the right place, some money, and experience supported by knowledge" - I replied. Then I was asked if I could prepare such a studio and how long it would take. And that was the moment from which my adventure with the CZP recording studio began.

Photo: Maciej Adamski

So an idea was born and a person who would undertake its implementation - that is Mr. What was next?

Soon I appeared in the indicated place and there, for a good start, I was given a room on the lower ground floor of the building at ul. Fr. Bończyka 11-13. The room had an area of about 10 m2, smooth white walls, a mirror-like floor and two small windows overlooking the garden, behind which there is a busy Kasprowicza street and clearly audible sounds coming from the military shooting range of the Land Forces Academy. I thought that it would take a lot of effort to adapt the said room, which is to meet the hopes placed in it. Despite the initial minor difficulties, the work related to the acoustic adaptation was carried out quite efficiently, in accordance with our ideas and expectations. All walls were equipped with acoustic panels, the floor was covered with a soft carpet, the windows were covered with curtains, mobile acoustic screens were prepared and several small but important elements were installed to improve the acoustics, such as bass traps and 3D ceiling tiles. An ordinary table with a rectangular top, which was initially the only piece of furniture in the room, was properly enclosed within a few hours of carpentry work and, as if by magic, became a fully functional sound engineer's workstation. We can say that it turned out very nicely. I say "us" because all the adaptation work was done by the great DCZP technical team.

Specialized equipment is needed in a recording studio. How did you cope with this task?

As a man of action, I immediately got to work, searching the numerous websites of stores, warehouses and warehouses of stage and studio equipment. It turned out that the market offers a very wide range of electronics of interest to us. Fortunately, I didn't have to think long about what equipment is necessary for our studio, because the concept of developing an audio track for sound recordings had been in my head for a long time. However, in the back of my mind I also had the words of Mrs. Oliwia Kozak, the manager of the Center, who asked me to order equipment only of good quality, known and proven brands, because the studio will be one of the most important showcases of our facility, therefore it must meet the basic acoustic parameters and be professionally equipped . And of course she was right, because she's not a manager for nothing!

Today our studio has: Allen&Heath ZED14 mixer with USB audio interface, Samplitude PRO X6 studio DAW software, we have dynamic and condenser microphones, mini recording booth, professional near-field monitors, Tascam mobile stereo sound recorder, and soon a digital video camera for film recording will arrive . All realizations, both in the form of audio and video, will be recorded and processed on a new laptop, which the studio has also been equipped with.

The studio is already running. How is it used for patients?

"... and remember, you want to be healthy, don't neglect your head..." - this is a fragment of the song "Speak openly about problems", which will accompany the information campaign about the Centre. The song maintained in the climate of hip-hop funky was recorded, electronically realized and mastered in our studio, so it can be said that it is the first material that has left the CZP studio. You can listen to it at the link: https://gazetawroclawska.pl/terapia-dzwiekiem-w-studio-nagran-centrum-zdrowia-psychicznego-we-wroclawiu-przy-ul-bonczyka-1113/ar/c14-16426561

Photo: Maciej Adamski

Already during the first visit of the patients of the Patient's Club, I noticed how much the guests liked the unconventional design of the room, as well as its professional equipment. When they found out that it was the only recording studio in a health care facility in Poland prepared especially for them, they felt honored and somehow proud of the fact that they had the opportunity to use it on a daily basis. I made my first projects "quietly", during one of the visits of Club members. Before their arrival, I turned on all the microphones and managed to record our entire hour-long meeting. I told my guests what mission guides our activities, how the studio will function, what we intend to record here and how it will be technically done. Lila was the first brave one who said a few words about herself and sang a forgotten song from her childhood. I also learned that Lila writes poetry and one of her dreams is to record her work in the form of a poetic audiobook. Another person interested in the studio is Jerzy, who would like to try his hand as a DJ, but he lacks information and help in implementing his plans. We already have an appointment for another meeting and Lila's recording of her first author's poem, while with my colleague Jerzy we will familiarize ourselves with the possibilities of the Virtual DJ computer program, dedicated to people who want to mix music. We also have the idea of recording a voice-over track for previously prepared film materials from tours around Wrocław. Of course, the voiceovers for the films will be lent by our patients. I hope that soon our studio will become a showcase of the Mental Health Center, and by the way, my many years of experience in conducting classes in the field of media education will certainly result in more interesting recordings. In confidence, I will add that we are going to present some of the recordings we made for broadcasting in one of Wrocław radio stations.

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