Creating Choral Practice Videos
  • MNadalin
    Posts: 13
    I've decided I'm going to make practice videos for the choir this year and will upload them to YouTube. My idea is to just play each part on the piano and then all four parts together so they can hear it in context.

    Have any of you done this before? What's worked for you (and what hasn't)? Any thoughts on equipment/software that's been useful?

    Any and all thoughts appreciated.
  • PaxTecum
    Posts: 255
    I did this for a bit and found that it's not worth the time and effort because they aren't going to look at them anyway.

    Encourage people to bring their own recording devices & record their own part.
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    I have had a different experience than the poster above. I record parts on my phone and upload the audio to a Dropbox (or Google drive, OneDrive, whatever suits your fancy) file.

    If not all, at least some singers will spend some time with it ... and it winds up encouraging others to do the same when they notice the difference.

    However, I do think it is not worth the effort to make YouTube videos (I’m assuming you plan to put the score in the video). It is quicker to just record & upload, and let the singers do as they will with what’s provided. If even just 1/4 of your choir takes advantage of it, that’s 1/4 of the choir that will arrive at rehearsal more well-prepared. Hopefully the results are contagious.
  • Personally I have had reasonable results with recording from Finale. It's a fair amount of work, and it is an ongoing process, but it can be very valuable and ultimately, once it is set up, you are largely good.
    • I input all modern notation music into Finale.
    • I export N + 1 mp3 files for N parts. That is, for a SATB piece, I export 4 + 1 mp3 files... the S, A, T, B, and all together. For the individual parts, I change the instrument to piano and lower the audio on the other parts so that it is present but the part in question is brought forward.
    • I post all the mp3 (and sheet music) in a Google Group site for the choir to access.

    It is an ongoing process - under my former choir I had virtually everything available this way - and there were people who took advantage. In my new group, I'm still working through repertoire so it still is not entirely in place - but I have maybe 20% available currently.

    I agree with ryand above... it won't be everyone, but not everyone necessarily needs that assistance. Every bit helps - and some people will really take advantage of a tool like this.
  • Carol
    Posts: 760
    My husband does this for out choir as incardination describes. He only does this for pieces that prove to be more difficult for our very amateur choir to learn.

  • I have transcribed many pieces into Finale and exported MIDIs of individual parts, as well as a link to a Spotify recording that I like (if available), or another MIDI with all four parts together. It's a bit of work, but so far is working well.
  • JonLaird
    Posts: 226
    I follow a similar process as Incardination. See, e.g., here. Like mmeladirectress, I will also often link to a good recording if one is out there.

    Enough people use the recordings that it's worth it for me to do this (even for hymns). I use Musescore or Notion. It takes some time to get in a groove, but by now I can engrave, mix, and export and upload the audio files for a hymn or short chorale piece in 10-20 minutes. I have a small midi keyboard controller which lives on my desk for this purpose, and that speeds things up quite a bit.

    Sometimes for a difficult piece I will do recordings at two different tempos: a slow one for learning the notes, and then a faster one that is up to (or slightly faster than) the desired performance tempo. Sometimes I might also have a metronomic click track to help with rhythmic precision. Click through some of the files here. It can end up being fairly time-consuming to do all these variations, but if your singers use them it's definitely worthwhile.

    I used to be adept at doing this almost as quickly in Lilypond, but I haven't touched that in a few years. But it's definitely possible, and also much easier to set up precise templates -- you will just need an extra step of converting the midi output to a friendlier audio format. Many free tools exist for this; e.g. here.
  • Incardination- excuse my ignorance, but is there a process where one can scan music into Finale or another program, or does one input note by note?

    The previous director used to record parts onto CDs and people really listened to them (while driving, etc). I don't think I have that technology anymore (the church burned down and was rebuilt during her time) but people eagerly use the technology when it is there.
    Thanked by 1Incardination
  • I keep hearing that it is possible "in the next release", but I have not encountered it. However, it appears it is available depending on the release you have. It requires SmartScore to be successful.

    You can, of course, open a .mid file (midi) directly into Finale.

    Here's a link of the search I did:

    Hopefully this is helpful!
    Thanked by 1MNadalin
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,032
    I have heard good things from other professional engravers about this tool.
    Thanked by 1MNadalin
  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640
    @PolskaPiano if you have recording function on your phone or a small personal recorder you can play parts and send to choristers as mp3’s. I have had success with that. Some will use their phone or home computer to listen, or can burn their own CD’s for car use if so inclined
  • Thanks, Ryand. That is what I have done for now. People complain that they aren't near their computers. They all want their CDs ::eyeroll::