Life has changed drastically over the last several months in the world of music education. One of the biggest disappointments teachers faced last spring was the inability to showcase their music programs in annual spring concerts and recitals. This naturally led to a need for quick, digital performance solutions, and an increase in demand for tools and programs that supported creating virtual ensemble videos. While creating these videos are ideal for keeping the spirit of ensemble playing alive during remote instruction, they also brought to light some unrealistic expectations:
- Music Teachers could just send out a zoom link and everyone could play together in sync. We all know this is not the case and this is not how the videos are done behind the scenes. However, it didn’t alleviate the pressure on teachers in figuring out how to quickly stitch together virtual ensemble videos.
- Music Teachers could easily coordinate these recordings in time for the end of the school year and spring concerts. The reality is that mixing and syncing can take a lot of time and finesse.
While we continue to look into ways to keep musicians connected remotely, as a first step in stitching together your virtual ensemble videos, you can download student submissions as MP3s from the Gradebook.
How does it work?
- Open the Teacher Gradebook
- Select a Class
- Open a student submission
- From here, you can click on the new “Download Recording” icon which will go directly into your downloads folder.
Tips for preparing a Virtual Ensemble recording using SmartMusic:
- Create an assignment that only allows the student to submit a specific tempo. If students turned in recordings with varied tempos, syncing the recordings would not be possible. Since SmartMusic has a built in metronome, they can follow the music with the accompaniment for the best full take results.
- Stress the importance of the students recording with headphones. If the accompaniment track is bleeding into their audio recording, you will not get the best results for mixing later. Background noise is going to happen with students recording at home, but you can at least minimize this piece.
- If you want to include video, have the student simultaneously record their take on video, and using your preferred video recording software.
- If a student does submit a recording with too much background noise or they need more time to practice for a better recording, simply click “reassign” with some instructions so they can try again.
All of these instructions can be written to them through SmartMusic!
Once you receive all the submissions you can download the MP3s from the Gradebook and mix them together using a DAW of your choice. Since the students recorded their submissions at the same tempo, you will not need to do any additional trimming and all audio will start at the same time! This will allow you to focus on achieving the perfect blend and balance in your recording rather than spending time syncing parts.
To learn more about creating a Virtual Ensemble, check out our SmartMusic webinar: Virtual Ensemble Solutions.
MakeMusic cannot grant authorization to use copyrighted material for virtual ensembles. Please check with the appropriate publisher for permission. Alfred Music requests can be directed here: [email protected].