8 Quick recommendations when conducting your music in a professional session.
Updated: Sep 26, 2022
Dear reader, allow me to share with you some advice based on experience that I personally believe is useful to have in mind when you are conducting your music on a recording session.
Print at least 2-3 conductor scores.
You will probably need one for yourself, one as a backup in case it is needed and/or, one for a member of your team on the control room that helps you with the recording.
Mark your score.
On the heat of the moment you might forget or dismiss some details when conducting so making annotations on your score previously to the session can be useful it helps you ensure you do not overlook important moments on the music, it also helps you stay aware of tricky parts and sudden changes in the music, personally I like to use color pencils to differentiate between elements on my music for example meter changes in red and dynamics in blue.
Practice conducting in advance.
The more you practice, the better. Personally, I like to practice with an audio mockup and/or a metronome/tempo track, the more you simulate the situation the more confident you will feel when standing up on the podium.
If possible have a list know the names of the players and their instrument (specially in smaller ensambles and or soloists in your score).
If your contractor can give you a list with the names and instrument of the players that are going to be on the recording session, your communication with the them can be more focused in case it is needed and it is also more polite way to approach players.
Let them run through the first pass from beginning to end.
The first take is more likely to not be the best, this is because it is probably the first time the musicians look into your music, it is worth to let them get used to your piece before they nail it down.
Always be kind and assertive.
If someone messes up do not make a bigger deal of it, instead move on and try again, avoid pointing out the flaws of individuals as it might lead to a tense atmosphere that can spread across all the people in the recording session, which is not beneficial. Also be precise with your directions and be confident about them, transmit your leadership on the podium.
Have a second pair of ears and eyes in the recording booth that helps you monitor the session.
What you might hear in the recording room can be quite different to what the actual recording sounds on the control room where the mixing engineer is, so having at least a second pair of trusty ears and eyes for monitoring the audio and proof reading the score to ensure that everything that is written is being played properly it is always a great idea, as they can communicate to you if something needs to be adjusted.
Do not waste time
Making sure that time is being wisely spent could mean that you have just enough time to record another take that might end up being the best one. For example, If you let the players start asking too many questions you will loose more and more time which is vital in a recording session and quite expensive. Procure sticking to the time rented and do your best to make the session run smoothly.
Thank you for reading, I hope this was useful, if you have any doubts please comment and I'll respond. Sincerely, OCK.