Very long breaks in scores

Sometimes you have scores with very, very, very long breaks for some instruments. This may for example happen with large backing bands only playing during the chorus. You should of course tell these folks when they need to come in again (most notation applications will write one bar and put the number of silent bars in it), but if they have a break of 30 bars or so, noone will actually count!

silent bars in Sibelius

This is where you need to use cues: Look for an easily recognizable part someone else is playing directly before your players have to come in again and write it in the parts in cue notes (smaller notes). The players need to hear the cue part, so choose someone they can hear (very loud, sitting near them, ...) This will help them find the place. Also make absolutely sure the conductor (or whoever may be responsible for leading the players) gives them their entrance very clearly, i.e. by making eye contact one bar before they need to come in.

cue notes

It can also help greatly to mark sections in the parts, even if the players have nothing to do. It helps them keeping track of where they are:

In this image you can see that we have an 8 bar verse, followed by an 8 bar chorus. If the player has to come in right after the chorus, s/he will have no problems finding the entrance.

If you have a song and players have to play only the chorus or so, you usually do not need to write down the exact number of silent bars. Give them a brief decription „Chorus only!“ or something along these lines and make sure to rehearse their entrances.
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