As lots of you will know by now, we are planning a Virtual Christmas Concert! This means that every member of the society who wants to participate will need to submit a recording of them playing their part, which can then be edited together to produce a full performance. For a lot of people, this may be a completely new experience! With a lot of recording deadlines coming up in the next couple of weeks, here are a few tips for how to produce the best quality recording possible.
Before you start:
- Don’t forget to tune! If you don’t have a tuner, you can find loads of tuning websites online or get an app on your phone. It’s not as good as tuning all together would be, but it still makes a big difference!
- Find the quietest time and place you possibly can to do your recording. Make sure any windows are closed and ask the people around you to be quiet until you’re done.
- Make sure you’ve practiced a few times (with the click track) before you record the final version to get a feel for the pieces and focus on any challenging bits.
- Before you start recording, do a test where you play/sing your highest and loudest notes. If it sounds odd, you can adjust your distance from the microphone or microphone sensitivity accordingly.
- Don’t forget to use the click track – you should be able to find it in the shared space for your ensemble.
- There may also be a click track with instrumental backing available. Listen to it before you start so you’re aware of any changes in tempo throughout the piece. You may prefer to play along to this rather than the plain click track, especially if you’re concerned about changes in tempo or the possibility of missing bars.
- Don’t forget to listen to it through headphones so the recording doesn’t pick it up!
- If you have multiple devices, it’s a good idea to listen to the click track on one of them and record on the other. Use the device with the best microphone quality to do the recording.
- If you’re struggling with the click track, or can’t figure out the rhythm of your part, listen to any recordings that may have already been submitted for reference – and play along with them if you find it easier.
- Be prepared to have a few goes at recording before you get a good version – it’s a challenge to get it right the first time around!
- Find a full version of the piece on YouTube and follow it while reading your music so you know how your part fits into the whole and how the rhythms are supposed to sound.
- While you are recording, try to play all the way through the piece regardless of how many mistakes you make – that way you won’t get caught up in the first few lines.
- If there is a particularly tricky bit, and you have the know-how, you could try recording it at half speed and then speeding it back up in Audacity.
- You can also record different sections separately and mix them back together in Audacity if you think one small part is ruining your whole recording!
- If you can’t get a bit right, a few mistakes don’t matter that much. If you really can’t get a bit right – skip it! If you do skip anything, make sure you allow for these bars, so that you start and finish at the same time as the click track.
Remember: recording with a couple of missing or less-than-perfect bits is much better than no recording at all. If you still have any problems with or questions about anything, get in touch with your ensemble reps or conductors! They’ll be happy to give you a hand. Happy recording!