Virtual Rehearsals and Ways to Stay in Touch
Updated on a regular basis. Last updated 24/01/2022
Step-by-step Virtual Choir Rehearsal Guide - Advice and tips on software settings and setting up a choir rehearsal. Tips for Directors and Conductors.
Taking your Choir Rehearsals Online - Advice for getting set up and organised to host a virtual choir session by Chorus Connection Blog.
ZOOM -Online video calling software. It is free to sign up to Zooms Basic plan and is proving quite popular with virtual music lessons and virtual choir sessions due to the quality of the video call and the ability to host up to 100 people for free.
Digital Stage is an app being developed that will possibly allow larger music and theatre ensembles to rehearse via internet, distributed from home and with existing household technology, and to perform live on a digital stage together in front of an audience.
Acapella App - A useful app with basic and premium user options. Basic features allow you collaborate with up to nine musicians, with a built in metronome and an option to record multiple users’ audio and video tracks, and sync them to create one unique track. There are many youtube videos describing how to use the app. How To Use The Acapella App - 2020 Edition
Virtual Choir 101 - Shows you how to use available free software that can achieve very good results with little effort.
dohrey.me interactive music teaching tool created by MatchMySound (a company in Estonia)
Smartmusic: Practicing Chorus Music
Youtube Tutorials for Online Rehearsals:
Zoom in "Music Mode" by RAMA Vocal Center / The Royal Academy of Music
Zoom tutorial for choral conductors, technical session (1/2) by RAMA Vocal Center (DK) and VChN (CH)
Zoom tutorial for choral conductors, musical session (2/2) by RAMA Vocal Center (DK) and VChN (CH)
For online rehearsals of smaller groups with good technical knowledge:
Source Elements - Recommended by PFI, not tested by us so far, can also be used combined with Zoom etc.
Soundtrap - Chrome browser required. See video with Jim Daus here
Jamkazam - Only works with small groups, you need people with technical skills, still some latency problems
Jamulus - Open source software, see examples here and here. This also seems to require technical skills. An international group of singers published this video and there is a tutorial for conductors on Jamulus in English here
Sagora - Further development of Jamulus
A German conductor suggested the combination of different tools and approaches for online rehearsals here. This document is in German but can be translated to English in the Google Chrome browser.
None of these solutions seem to be perfect so far, though with most of them it is possible to make music together online and, depending on your equipment and the online connections, have a very reduced latency. Using good equipment and cable internet connection rather than WiFi helps to improve the quality of the experience.
COPYRIGHT AND PUBLISHING DURING PANDEMIC:
Copyright laws are still in place despite the pandemic. It is so important to know that the content you are sharing online is not in breach of copyright laws.
The following publishing companies have made a statement on their copyright during the pandemic with some restrictions on distributing their material temporarily eased during the global pandemic.
GIA Publications statement on permissions during the pandemic
Hal Leonard's Distance Learning FAQ for Educators
JW Pepper statement on sharing music digitally
Copyright can be a confusing topic for many amateur choirs. Sing Ireland have put together some resources to help you become more familiar with Irish Copyright Law and to point you in the right direction for finding out more information in relation to your performance licensing and copyright queries. SING IRELAND COPYRIGHT RESOURCES FOR GROUP SINGING
Alternative ideas for staying in touch with singers
Taken from ECA-EC Doc HERE
- Physical contact, e.g. visiting singers one by one and talking to them at a secure distance, distributing “analogue” material (e.g. for children musical games or instructions how they can make them themselves, e.g. a musical memory etc.)
- If you have a children’s choir - encourage parents to sing with their children and home, sharing some helpful tools such as sing-along-accompaniment recordings
- For older singers without PCs, tablets, smartphones, it is also possible to organise a telephone conference that can work like Zoom, just without video (and it is also possible to have people join Zoom through their phones, though the procedure is a bit more complicated to explain). They only have to dial a number and a code (e.g. https://meetgreen.de/ [DE] https://meet.green/ [EN]
- Producing Midi-files or other recordings of individual voices, 2 voices together, all voices together, with some programmes you can also have one voice louder and the others less loud, and putting these at disposal of the singers who can then rehearse at home alone. If you sing major choral symphonic works there are also publishers who have produced sing-along material for singers.
- “Radio rehearsals”, broadcasting a rehearsal where people can sing along (also reaches those without computers), see example -> here.
- Produce audio files with the help of some singers, edit different versions, each one with one voice missing so that all singers can hear the other voices and can sing along their own part, get a feeling of ensemble singing and can practice their lines.
- Bandlab - voices are added one by one to the record of the whole choir
- Smartmusic - see choir tutorial -> here (several hundred pieces of music with accompaniment for people to sing along, with possibility to change speed, record and get feedback)
- Car rehearsals - Everyone came by car, we gathered in a parking space, every singer got a microphone and headphones - and we could really sing together. It all took some effort as we needed financial support for the technician and the approval from the municipality - but it was worth it. It was so good to see and hear each other again in real time! (See an example in German -> here / and -> here, low-budget example/ Another example with video -> here), and a car open singing -> here.
- Live broadcasting warming-up exercises on Youtube, also available as recordings, can also be combined with elements of singing lessons
- Rehearsing open-air
- Starting rehearsals (when allowed again) with small groups, quartets, 2 or 3 per voice or with sectorial / voice rehearsals.
- The Freiburg Institute for Musicians’ Medicine at the University of Music Freiburg, Germany, has published some tips on how singers can keep their voice fit and keep fit and in balance. These tips can be shared with choirs.
- The French Choral Association A Coeur Joie organised an Online Open Singing with repertoire from the last choralies festival, the conductor who did Open Singing at that festival, and audio files so that participants could sing along with a full choir sound, see -> here.