Dealing with different instruments

Recording instruments

One of the challenges we often face when recording in schools is the variety of music and as a result instruments we are often faced with.    Even though our School Recordings are Free, we still do not believe that ‘one size fits all’.  Most of the time when we record in Primary Schools, we tend to record singing – either in year groups, choirs or the full school. In most cases this will be accompanied by Piano or backing tracks.    For us, that is a fairly straightforward setup as the overall ‘stage’ isn’t changing.

However, lots of schools want to showcase the full range of musical talent displayed by their pupils and often choose to include instrumental ensembles on the CD.  This could be anything from violins accompanied by piano, to recorder groups or even the school ‘band’.  Our job is to be able to deal with whatever musical group is thrown at us.   For this reason, we always carry a multitude of microphones and different stands / adaptors.

Whilst we aim to always keep the same ‘soundstage’ throughout the recording session, to properly record instruments you also need additional microphones to pick up the detail of the performance. This often involves strapping high quality microphones to the instruments. Is this a bit over the top for a Primary School Recording? Yes quite possibly, but the kids love the attention to detail and are really proud that we take so much care to record them ‘properly’.  And as with any recording set up, if we haven’t captured it, we can’t use it!