4 Part Music and their associated companies are working hard throughout these difficult days to keep school recordings available to all whilst adhering to current laws and Government Guidelines
A year ago in the distant days before Covid-19 and Coronavirus were words we heard on every news bulletin, here in the UK we were mostly worried about Brexit and the implications that may or may not have on our future. Alongside this, here at 4 Part Music, we were busy quietly getting on with our usual run of Christmas CD recordings in Schools all over the UK.
What a difference 12 months makes. As I write this blog post I am sat outside a cafe in Bath watching people walk past. There are a variety of face coverings in use and everyone is following the additional signage on the pavements and in shop doorways to maintain appropriate social distancing. Even in this relatively short period of time we have lived with a pandemic amongst us, the Great British public are showing their resolve. But life is far from ‘normal’. Or indeed perhaps this is the new normal.
What is Normal?
For me, normal is being free (within the laws of the land) to do as I please with whom and wherever I want. Free also to carry out business around the UK and work with groups of people in. order to make recordings. With my other hat on I also run a number of choirs which again involves bringing large numbers of people together.
At the moment there is a lot of talk about the ‘new normal’. Who knows where this virus will go or indeed not go. I am not an expert on any level so don’t expect any predictions, good or otherwise from me on that matter. But what I do know, is that any business needs to find ways to adapt in order to keep moving forward. And that is what we are doing at 4 Part Music. For the moment, (October 2020) we are still able to go and record in schools and we have some smaller choirs booking to record with us.
School Recordings for Christmas 2020
Christmas is a very popular time for schools to record. Every year from about mid October we are out on the road almost every day, touring the country to record in Primary schools up and down the land. This year it is noticeably quieter, but we are now starting to take quite a lot of bookings for November and early December.
For the moment all the talk is that schools are planning to remain open, despite any further lock down measures which might be introduced. Of course we will not know the reality of this until it happens. Indeed, anything could happen over the coming days and weeks so it is impossible to say with any certainty what recordings might be able to go ahead.
However, at the time of writing (October 2020) there is still the opportunity to record in schools. Exactly how these will work to some extent remains to be seen and will of course vary from school to school.
What differences might there be with school recordings?
Our policy, aside of working within the laws of the land in force at any given time along with government guidelines, is to work with the schools on an individual basis. In the majority of cases there will only be one engineer from 4 Part Music on site at any one time, although this might vary with larger jobs depending on the client requirements but only where agreed in advance.
Our recording engineer will naturally carry various forms of PPE along with hand sanitiser and our plan is to put up a temporary plastic screen in front of the engineering desk.
To a great extent, once the microphones and recording gear is set up at your school our engineer normally retires to a table in the corner and is effectively socially distanced from both staff and pupils for the majority of the time. From this point the recording can then carry on pretty much as normal.
Multi Tracking smaller groups
One of the limitations at the moment is the number of children who might be able to sing at any one time. But no matter. Provided the pupils are singing to a backing track, we can over lay or multi track various groups together. This might be two smaller groups so a class is singing together or it might be all the pupils singing the same song which is then combined to sound as if the whole school sang together.
The only thing to bear in mind is this means we will be recording each song probably a couple of times so we might not fit quite so much into the recording day. However, depending on how many children per class or year group it should still be possible to record 8-10 songs in a day. Each school will vary in what they want and the numbers of children involved so this is something again we will deal with on a school by school basis.