There is a tendency in just about everyone’s career as a freelance person or small business owner to try and be “everything for everyone”. We are always tempted to say, “Yes, I can handle that”, when that may not always be true. Yes, we should use the opportunities that customers provide us to learn more and grow in our capabilities, but there is a time and place to realize that maybe your company is not the most suitable option for an aspect of a project or possibly, the project entirely.
This mentality of always advocating what is best for the client is a hallmark of any service-based business. At Engraver’s Mark Music we are first and foremost a service-based business. We did not design the software or build the printers we use; we are a service, in service of the needs of our clients to help them achieve their success. As a service-first company, we provide solutions to the challenges our clients face. Sometimes, that solution lies outside our business.
I recently had the pleasure of getting to know a new client and explore some possibilities for future work. Mainly, this client was looking for a partner to assist with music preparation for scoring sessions and independent projects, which is something Engraver’s Mark Music does every day. However, at the onset, this client needed the skills of an orchestrator. To be honest, it was a tempting decision - to put myself forward as an orchestrator (in order to take on more work), or to put the needs of the client first. While I do possess the skills to orchestrate, that did not necessarily mean I was the best option for my new client and the needs of this project.
So, what did I do? I referred this project over to David Shipps and his team at DAS Music Group. The client really needed the expertise and knowledge of someone dedicated to orchestration, not just music preparation. David is a world-class orchestrator (check out his IMDB), and I have been privileged to partner with him and the entire DAS Music Group team for many years on a wide variety of projects. I wanted my client to have the best experience regarding orchestration, and that meant I needed to give this project to another company who I felt could ensure precisely that. With David and his team in the lead, I knew that my client had the right people in the right places to make the project a success.
For a client, the goal is to trust your service provider not to lead you astray. Can you trust them enough to send you to someone else? While it may seem counterintuitive, your most reliable service provider might very well be the one who tells you to call someone else. That is the guy you can really trust. Can you trust the people you call like that?
The success of Engraver’s Mark Music relies not only on the expertise and capabilities we have and continue to refine, but on the success of our clients and their projects. The success of the project and the client must come before our own. Even in those moments when I am passing my client off to another service provider, I feel that focusing on the client’s needs first and foremost will always turn out best for me in the end as well.
If you need some help with music preparation and printing, Engraver’s Mark Music is here for you. If you need help with orchestrating, I strongly encourage you to contact David Shipps and his team at DAS Music Group. If you are not sure what you need, please contact me and I will be honored to help walk you through any questions or ideas you have. At Engraver’s Mark Music, our service-based business is in service to the needs of our clients and finding the best solutions for them no matter where they are.
As you’ve seen on our website, we have multiple services to offer, custom music printing and different tools to help composer, arrangers, orchestrators, publishers and artists bring their music to the world. We are always looking for new ways and resources to give our clients the best option in each of these areas because the best way to serve a client is to make sure they have the best solution for their particular project. And when we find a new and better option for our clients, we want to partner with them!
I am excited to announce a new partnership with
My Sheet Music Transcriptions! Transcribing audio into music notation is a basic task for any musician, yet it is a complex skill that requires lots of time and attention to detail. Oriol and his team at My Sheet Music Transcriptions has so impressed me with the quality of their work and their philosophy as a company (for example, they provide you with their source file, Finale or Sibelius, as part of their final transcription) that I wanted to ensure Engraver’s Mark Music was aligned with them. The quality of their work is so high, I wanted all my clients to know about them and to consider them for their music transcription needs. My Sheet Music Transcriptions has offices in the US, UK, EU and elsewhere so they truly have a global reach; no matter where you are, they are the best option for your music transcription needs.
If you are looking for some lead sheet transcriptions or a transcription for just about anything (piano covers, guitar tabs, piano vocal scores, music arrangements, and jazz solos), I strongly recommend you contact Oriol and his team and see what they can do for you! Just let them know you heard about My Sheet Music Transcriptions through Engraver’s Mark Music and be ready to be amazed! (check out their reviews)
Recently, I had an interesting experience that helped remind me of the central ethos (if you will) of Engraver’s Mark Music. In an email exchange perspective client, an arranger wrote:
“Currently I use Sibelius Ultra software to create the arrangements, both octavo and full score. This also allows me to extract and edit my own parts for the bands…
in view of my Sibelius use and the clients I work with, I’m wondering what Engraver’s Mark could actually do for me.”
To which, I responded:
“I totally get what you're saying about the use of Sibelius. It's such a powerful tool. It can certainly make things easier overall, though, like most things, there's quite a bit of learning involved. My company treats Sibelius, and Finale, like instruments that need to be practiced and techniques that need to be refined.
Most of my clients use either Sibelius or Finale to write and orchestrate from the very beginning. Where my team comes into their workflow can be in a number of different places, from template design for a specific project or instrumentation, to score cleanup, part creation and editing and custom printing for recording sessions, live performances or retail sales. We know what the needs and requirements are of professional organizations and publishers so we can tailor our services to help the composers and orchestrators we with work deliver their best, on time and with less stress.
Sometimes our clients need all of these services, sometimes just a few; it depends on the project. We integrate with any workflow and help the composers and orchestrators we work with to stay focused on their art and not all the other details.”
In any business or service, there’s a point at which you have to answer this question;
“Why/How do my potential customers need/want my company’s product/service?”.
The answer to this question is the central focus of any fully developed business plan, demonstrating that the needs of your prospective client can be met by the product or service you are offering. Whether it’s a plumber or a high-tech product, the question is still the same and the thought, planning and execution of the answer can often be the difference between a successful business or one that doesn’t grow beyond a certain point.
I took this question from the arranger not as an attack on the value of my skills or the business of Engraver’s Mark Music, but as an opportunity to fully explain our business model, highlighting our skills and assets while creating an image of a new reality for the client, one where their needs could be met and new possibilities would be available to them by partnering with us.
Yes, music notation software has come a long way. These tools are extremely powerful and allow even novice user to achieve good results. However, more advanced skills and processes are needed achieve faster and more consistent results. Just as being able to install a toilet or change an electrical outlet or other more basic tasks around the house doesn’t take away the value of a fully trained and experienced plumber or electrician, the same thing goes those who use Sibelius or Finale to handle every aspect of a project themselves and those who use Engraver’s Mark Music or other music preparation services in their workflow. Each has its place and function.
So, maybe for a small ensemble or personal project where your skills are equal to the task, you may not need Engraver’s Mark Music, and that’s ok.
Maybe all you need, rather, is a teacher; one who is an expert in the area you are studying and is able to offer both knowledge and experience to help guide you on the next steps in your learning process. Engraver’s Mark Music can help you there too. We offer Finale instruction to beginners and advanced users alike to help refine and take their skills to the next level. (Contact us to learn more about Finale lessons)
Maybe you are spending too much time on score clean up or part creation and formatting that it is taking time away from the content creation you need to be doing. Or driving all over town to print shops trying to get them to understand the specific needs of musicians and hoping they’ll be able to turn your project around on time and without messing it up. In either case, know that Engraver’s Mark Music has a solution for you; one where you gain that precious time back and partner with an experienced team that knows the challenges of the deadlines and creative tasks you have in front of you.
No, not every project or person will use our service. However, Engraver’s Mark Music can create a custom solution for every project or person. That’s the focus our everything we do; to help all those we work with to stay focused on their art, not all the other details and partner with them to bring their music to the world.
Here's a link to a great interview with Christopher Willis and how the music preparation process was a large part in his workflow on "The Personal History of David Copperfield"
There has been a constant theme I’ve seen in my 25 years in the music industry; talent can get you the first gig, but the VALUE you bring will get you a raving fan (or the next 10 gigs). As you may have noticed if you’ve read my previous blog posts (check them out here), the concept of “value” is the central theme to everything that’s done here at Engraver’s Mark Music. It's more than just a word, its right at the beginning of our mission statement :
“Engraver’s Mark Music exists to create VALUE to all our clients, by making the highest quality sheet music available to everyone by creating streamlined, consistent, accurate and repeatable systems that bring the best of music engraving practices to every project, regardless of size or scope.”
Everything Engraver’s Mark Music does is focused on value; creating and sharing the value of what we have learned with our clients, to increase the value of their work, and demonstrate the value of Engraver’s Mark Music to their businesses and music.
This all sounds wonderful, but what exactly does “value” mean in this context, how it is measurable, and is “value” the same for each client? How do our clients seek out value in the partnerships they use in their businesses and, perhaps most importantly, what do they value the most?
Finding the answers to these questions is a constant quest for any business, but most especially for a service-based business like Engraver’s Mark Music. Yes, we sell Finale and (coming soon) Sibelius templates, but the majority of our work is being the labor and expertise our clients need to create the finest sheet music and digital and printed materials. We always look to add value above and beyond what our clients expect from us and search out new tools and products to provide additional services they need or anticipate the future needs our clients will encounter as their businesses grow. Our clients come to us looking to save time and money, because Engraver’s Mark Music has a wealth of experience and tools (check them out here) to handle multiple aspects of any project. We build value in our company and for our clients with the multiple skills and tools we have, by how streamlined and efficient our processes and products are and how well they work together to add value for our customers. Like strands in a rope, the tools and talents here at Engraver’s Mark Music combine to make a valuable rope, one that is strong, flexible, durable and consistent for our clients.
One of the easiest metrics to measure this kind of “value” is if our clients believe the money they spend on services from Engraver’s Mark Music is “money well spent”, meaning the time saved, the expertise gained, the skills added to their operation, and the efficiency demonstrated throughout the project from our work is clear, and consistent. And how do we know our clients believe their money is well spent? Our clients are consistent repeat clients because they see the “value” to their music and businesses we provide. Often, our clients will simply call up and ask for help with small notation question or printing issue, even if it's not a project we are currently working on, because they know the value of our expertise and tools and, more importantly, they know we VALUE AND CARE about their work, no matter how big or small.
Let Engraver’s Mark Music show you just how much we value your music and your business. We’d be glad to sit down with you and learn more about your work and find the places where Engraver’s Mark Music can provide the most value to you and all that your business encompasses. Check back with us often, as we will be announcing new templates and tools in the coming weeks and months that will greatly benefit any composer, publisher or anyone looking to bring the quality of their music to new heights.
Sammy Sanfilippo, CEO of Engraver's Mark Music