Open Virtual Concert
In this time of social distancing, the Arlington Heights Community Concert Band is expanding what it means to be a community band. Our community can be anyone from anywhere who wants to share in the joys of learning and making music together. As such, we are inviting musicians from all over to join in a virtual community recording of John Philips Sousa's Washington Post march.
All recordings due by May 25th. This window is now closed. Thank you all who participated!
If interested, here is what you need to do to participate:
Step 1: Get the music
Download and print your part from the score, found here. This is the full score which is over 80 pages. We highly recommend you only print the pages for the part you are going to record.
Download the backing track needed for rehearsal and timing your recording here.
Step 2: Practice with the backing track
Playing to a backing track or video is a very different skill from playing in an ensemble.
For the recording you will also need to be playing with headphones, which can really throw even highly experienced musicians.
Some instruments may need to hear themselves in the room more than others, so only using one ear with the headphone can really help. Learning the comfortable volume, you need the backing at will also take practice.
Step 3: Set up for your recording
You will need:
1. A quiet room that your instruments sounds good in. Lots of background noise is going to ruin your recording. At home we don’t usually much choice of acoustic space, so just make the most of the best option you have.
2. A source device - to play the backing track / conducted video backing track. This could be a mobile device, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Provided you can get it in a good position to be able to watch and listen, and push start and stop as needed, so within arm’s reach.
3. Headphones - connected to your source device.
4. Audio capture device - to record your audio. This could be an iOS or Android mobile device or tablet.
Your laptop or desktop is not going to work well unless you have an external microphone and know how to use recording software.
If you have access to a good microphone and audio software, then definitely go ahead and do that. That is outside the scope of these instructions except to say you can upload the audio file to me separately to the video file.
Do not add any effects to your recording, as we will do that when combining all of the tracks into our virtual band. Your effects will render your audio unusable for our project. If you don’t have a microphone, then your mobile device or tablet can still capture audio which is definitely good enough for our project.
Step 4: Record your performance
Don’t underestimate how hard it is to play your best in this new environment.
Playing by yourself to a backing track on headphones is a very different skill from playing in the ensemble, with your friends all around you, immersed in the sound all around you. Instruments playing together in the same room interact with each other acoustically, making it easier to match tone and pitch and in some cases like the Tuba, it actually gets more efficient to play and center your notes when playing with others.
I recommend you set yourself up, and then record around 5 takes in a row, without stopping to listen to the result or analyze yourself. As long as you did a good job in Step 3 in setting up for your recording, the sound will be good. Doing back to back takes will let you adjust to the process and what you are hearing and get comfortable with the process.
The beauty of this process is that you can do as many takes as your endurance and technique will allow. Then you can come back tomorrow and do some more. So, the first goal is to get relaxed and comfortable and adjusted enough to be able to capture your best playing without being tense and nervous. Once you feel you have a take where you played fairly well, have a listen to it right through while watching your music and analyzing how well you captured the various musical characteristics such as
- pitch and intonation
- tone color
Step 5: Submit your recording
If you can, email your recording to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your recording is too large to email, upload your recording to file store such as DropBox and email the link to Pete.
If you are a current member of the band, you may log into the members page and upload your performance there. There should be a shared folder called Virtual Concert. Click on that folder, then the plus (+) at the top of the page to upload your performance. Remember to email Pete that it's there afterwards.