Printed scores: Naming of instruments

Does the following situation sound familiar to you? On recording of some live brass you distribute the parts to the players. Each part has more than one page - and then the nightmare happens. Someone opens the door and the parts all sail to the floor. And because all the trumpets have just „Trumpet“ as their part name, you have no idea which piece of paper belongs to what part. You spend valuable time sorting everything again.

When creating parts for performance, make absolutely sure that _every_ page contains:
- Part name („Trumpet in Bb II“)
- Page number and total pages („2 of 4“)
- If you have more than one piece, the name of the piece („My absolutely stunning Brass piece“)
- Your name (just to exclude the possibility for there being more than one piece with the same title)
- If there are doublings, write them somewhere at the top („Flute II / Piccolo Flute“)

It is also _highly_ advisable to write exact instrument names, so not just „Trumpet“, but „Trumpet in Bb III“. From the second stave on you do not need abbreviated instrument names, but if you do, also call it „Trp. III“, not just „Trp.“. You never know if the sheets get mixed up and this allows you to see which part the piece of paper belongs to at a glance.

Lastly, forgo _any_ fancy graphical effects. This stuff needs to be readable. No Comic Sans for any text!

Choosing which instruments to record live

You will constantly have to face budget cuts. If they tell you beforehand, you'll be fine most of the time. Where it gets really annoying is if they do after you've written lots of music and then you are told that they need to cut the budget for recordings, which means: Fewer players.

When deciding which instruments to record live and which have to done with samples, there are two big questions:
1) What is your kind of music? If you feature a solo instrument quite heavily, you should record that one live under all circumstances. For ensembles, think about using one or two real instruments per type and making it bigger with samples.
2) Which instruments can you replicate will with samples. In most cases, percussion can be done with samples, if necessary. One exception would be the timpani, they tend to sound better with real players. A piano, if only used for support and adding rhythm, can also be sampled pretty well. I'd tend to retain the brass section; if your piece has lots of soaring brass, it might actually be cheaper to hire real players then to spend ages programming samples.

Also never forget that any piece will only sound as good as its arrangement - if your piece is not arranged very good, even the best live players cannot make it sound good. So double check your arrangements before recording :)

Find suitable instruments

When having someone play something, of course the most important thing is that this person knows his or her trade. But you should not forget the influence of the actual instrument. Usually performers have their own instruments, but it can happen that they need to use an instrument provided by someone else. If then the results are far less satisfying than expected, it may have to do with them playing a different instrument. They might not be familiar with this particular instrument, which most of the time isn't a big deal: Give them a few minutes and carry on.

In some cases, however, the instrument itself may just not have the right sound for the project. With stringed instruments it usually comes down to the strings used. Use different ones and try again. Woodwinds and brass have temperature issues. Besides affecting the tuning, they also sound different when they do not have the right temperature. If the sound of the instrument doesn't fit at all (happens rarely, but it can), try to get another instrument. EQing and editing later doesn't do the trick most of the time, unfortunately! You can also try to add some samples instruments later combining the best of both worlds.