If you are a singer approaching singing in a virtual choir for the first time, this quick guide might help you.
what is a virtual choir?
It is probably worth outlining what we mean when we talk about ‘virtual choirs’ and ‘virtual choir performances’.
Creating a ‘virtual choir performance’ normally involves three main stages.
- A small team produces materials for the whole choir to work with. These include a specific video for each section of the choir to sing in time with when they are recording.
- The members of the choir practise with this pre-prepared video and, when ready, film themselves singing alongside it.
- The members then send the video of themselves singing back to the central team, and the videos are then edited together to produce a ‘virtual choir performance’.
In this instance, you will be sending your videos along to the person designated by your choir director through a method arranged by them.
There are a few things to think about before you begin the process of learning your part and filming yourself, and the first is probably to make sure you have everything at your disposal for learning and recording the piece.
Whilst we hope that this will not prevent anyone from taking part, there are a few things that you will need in order to film yourself singing:
- a pair of headphones connected to
- a device for watching the video and singing along with it (eg, a laptop or a tablet), and, preferably,
- a separate device for filming yourself singing (eg, a camera or the camera on your phone set to video),
- some means of holding the filming device steady and in landscape orientation, not portrait (eg, a stand or another person); and,
- a little time and patience – just like learning and performing any new piece of music, this will take a little effort to get right.
You should not need to purchase any special equipment, software, or apps to film yourselves. It is worth mentioning that, if you only have one device for both filming and listening, it might still be possible to work around that.
Do take a look at the ‘recording‘ page for some basic guidance on how to film yourselves.
learning, singing and sending
Once you have made sure that you have everything you need, spend some time getting to know the piece before you have a go at filming it. Here is a suggested order, but do feel free to skip any steps you do not feel are relevant to you and do read through before beginning!
- Optional step: If you find it useful, you can download the score of the piece from the ‘downloads‘ page to help you get used to it. Remember that you do not need to do this unless you really want to, as you will be following the music on the screen as you practise and film yourself!
- If you are going to record yourself, have a look at the ‘recording‘ page and set up your gear before you begin singing.
- When you are ready to sing,
- Visit the ‘warming up‘ page and get your voice moving a little;
- Go to the page for your part (make sure you have the right one as there are two versions of the piece – one for a choir of upper voices and one for a mixed choir!) and watch the video for your part all the way through, thinking along with your singing line. This will give you an idea of how it will all feel and an opportunity to get used to singing along;
- Go back and sing along with the singing section of the video a few times. When you feel uncertain about a passage, pause the film and go back over that part again;
- When you feel you have nailed down the notes reasonably well, hit record on your camera;
- Good luck! Don’t feel frustrated with yourself if you have to have a few goes, as this is a completely normal part of the process;
- When you have a good take, send it in using the method agreed with your choir director!