Primary school band – Hornsby North
Hornsby North Public School is a school in the Sydney metropolitan region. The school begun producing virtual band performances during 2020.
Their innovative bandmaster Lachlan Hamilton asked students in the senior band to perform their part in the musical piece ‘Silent Movie’ before stitching all the pieces together to create a ‘performance’ which was uploaded to YouTube.
Senior band students individually recorded their parts from home, before uploading their videos to Google Classroom. Lachlan Hamilton was then able to download them and stitch them together to create a virtual performance.
This idea could also work well for choir performances.
Music teacher Lachlan Hamilton utilised his prior knowledge of video editing, including using Adobe Premiere, Da Vinci Resolve and Final Cut Pro for this project.
For more information on how to use Zoom to keep your community connected, take a look at the Zoom guide in the Virtual Celebration Toolkit.
Lachlan outlined two possible processes that could work for your performance groups.
1. Record individual musical parts and stitch them together
This suits large groups like concert bands or choirs.
It’s really important that everyone records to the same recording as everyone else - the performance otherwise will be out of sync, says Lachlan. Lachlan asked each student to begin their recording with a ‘sync clap’. He counted to 4 and got students to clap with him in time so that he had a reference point that could be used in the editing process. He also counted the band in. Students then uploaded their videos to Google Classroom and Lachlan downloaded the videos into FinalCut Pro.
Some of the challenges included students not recording using the sync clap, or not recording at all. Be prepared to ask students to re-record and keep instructions simple and clear.
Recording at school can help. This allows you to control the microphone, the camera, and even the frame rate. When students record at home they are each recording on their own equipment where at school using the same equipment, your video production quality is likely to be higher.
2. Record and layer onto a click track
This suits smaller groups like rock/pop bands.
The second option is to work off a guide track or click track and record each student and build on that track. This method is commonly used in music recording music and might work for a smaller musical group at your school. It’s also easier to sync each track this way.
If you are asking students to record from home, make sure that they have the right equipment. You will need to provide simple and clear instructions to ensure that they know how the recording process will work.
Students will need to be able to easily upload their video - either through Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams or via email.