Colonial Music:

Virtual Choir and Orchestra

What is this?

With quarantines and social distancing, you are in danger of catching a new bug: cabin fever.  Are you missing choir / orchestra yet?
This is a way we can join our voices and instruments together and encourage our church body in this time of isolation. 

How does this work?

You record yourself singing/playing a song, and we combine your recording with everyone else.

What are we doing:

  • Recording ourselves Singing / Playing the music of "Is He Worthy"
  • (Choir - you are only singing the choir parts, not the solo)

You will need:

  • Wired Headphones / Earbuds.  You will need these to hear the music you will sing/play along with.
    • Wireless headphones/earbuds have a slight delay that doesn't usually matter for most situations (like watching videos and music listening).  Using wireless headphones will cause the sync tone from lining up properly with your recording.  However, if these are the only headphones you have, you can still participate.  When you are done recording, Add WIRELESS to the filename of the video so we know it will take some additional editing to get it to line up perfectly.
  • A device to play the recording track video you will play/sing along with:
    • Choir: Use a laptop or tablet.  You will want a big screen to see the "SingSlide" music in the video. 
    • Orchestra members: You can use the recording track within the Music Stand Stand App.  You will want to watch the video on the website first to familiarize yourself with the process.
  • A separate device* to record yourself.  It can be:
    • A smartphone/tablet:
      • You must record your video in landscape orientation (horizontal), not portrait (vertical)
      • This is the easiest option.   
      • You may want a phone tripod to hold your device (or an assistant)
      • Smartphones cannot record the video in the camera app while simultaneously playing the sing-along video track.
    • A Computer:
      •  *This is the exception*.  You can use a computer to both record yourself and play the sing-along track.  Phones do run two separate things at once.
      • Windows Users:
      • Mac Users:
      • Chromebooks and anyone using the Chrome Browser:
        • ScreenCastify (free)
          • 5 minute limit (this will be a problem if we do longer pieces)
          • Just install the browser extension.
      • Zoom Technologies (all computers)
        • Many organizations (including Colonial) are using Zoom to have virtual meetings.  Their program does have a recording feature, though the video quality is not as good as it could be.
  • Optional: Headphone Splitter - to record two people together!  Suggested purchase on Amazon.
    • If you want to record with more than two or have better volume control, you will need to purchase a headphone amp like this one, a dual male 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch cable like this one, and potentially a few additional 1/4 to 1/8 inch TRRS adapters (the amp only comes with two) like this one.
  • A bit of patience.
    • Once you figure it out, you'll be able to do future ones faster!
    • You may decide to have multiple takes so you can decide which one is best.  
    • If you're having difficulty, try asking for help on our Facebook group for Choir and Orchestra.

Important Tips:

  • Practice with the video several times before recording.  It will take some time before you are ready to record.
  • Sing / Play one time through and then review the recording to determine what changes you need to make.
    • Are you too loud (distorting) or not loud enough (can't hear clearly)?
    • Is there much reverb (echo) in the room?  Try a room with more carpeting, rather than many hard surfaces.
    • Listen to your surroundings.  Are you hearing a fan, an air conditioner, or anything else?  We only want YOU in the recording!
  • Find a good space with a clean background.  Look at an example video here and see what others have done.
  • Is your face well-illuminated?  If not, is there a window or bright lights in the background?  This can cause you to appear dark.
  • Are you close enough to the camera?
    • Choir, we need to see your face!  Get a good headshot (upper chest and up).  I don't need to see your shoes!
    • Orchestra, we need to see you and your instrument.  Positioning for each instrument will vary.
    • If you are concerned about this, take a photo of your shot and send it to Jon.
  • Investing time in this process will yield quality results.  Don't try to rush through this.  Enjoy the process!
  • Singing and Playing with headphones is a very different experience.  You may need to spend some time singing/playing while wearing them to get used to it.  You can try having them fairly loose, or one in/one out to see if that helps.
  • Choir: Try standing or sitting in a straight chair.  This will help you breathe better.
  • Share your challenges and successes with others.  Use our Colonial Choir and Orchestra Page to share your progress.