Virtual schola practice during shelter-in-place?
  • As of last night, our state (Maryland) is under a shelter-in-place order because of the Wuhan virus. While the archdiocese is still allowing livestreamed Masses and even allowing altar boys and choir (so we can still have a High Mass with 4 serving and 4 singing), there doesn't seem to be a legal way for schola members to get together to practice.

    Software such as zoom, jitsi or hangouts are good for meetings, but don't work well with more than one participant speaking or singing at one time.

    Is there any software that would work for a choir to practice together, or must everyone practice independently and then bring it all together in the warm-up time before Mass?
  • Drake
    Posts: 104
    Maybe there is something, but I'm not aware of it.

    The issue to overcome, if it is even possible, is latency. With any internet meeting, there will be some delay, usually noticeable, even if only one person is speaking at a time. Sometimes this is even noticeable during major media news interviews, where you can see that the one being interviewed is still listening to the question being asked for a few seconds after we hear it. That latency just doesn't work when singing together.

    In some churches, even, there is sufficient latency in the sound that the congregation gets behind the choir ... of course, there can be other reasons for that, too. But the latency is even worse over geographically dispersed networks, with individual internet connections running at a variety of data speeds.

    I could see a possibility of a modicum of success with chant or even limited hymnody practice over the internet if only one voice is live (not muted). Then, each person listening--even though they will hear the music at different times--can sing together with the one person broadcasting. That doesn't work if you need multiple parts for feedback, and, of course, the one broadcasting won't get any feedback at all.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 237
    Several people recommended ZOOM, a meeting software espeidally for music, designed to minimize sound delay (at the cost of syncronizing video with audio, which is less important). I have to try it yet, seems promising.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 833
    Practice a la Eric Whitacre!

    https://youtu.be/D7o7BrlbaDs
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Elmar
  • @MommaMagistra Don't do it. Search educator forums in any corner of the internet. People have been discussing this for the last month. It's not possible to have real-time connection with video and audio in a way that is productive for choirs.

    Make part tracks. Do asynchronous learning (as opposed to synchronous, or realtime).

    Eric Whitacre and all the virtual choirs are products of editing. They're awesome. Love 'em. But they're not "choirs" so much as asynchronous tracks, later edited (and pitch corrected) together.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Incardination
    Posts: 833
    Eric Whitacre and all the virtual choirs are products of editing. They're awesome. Love 'em. But they're not "choirs" so much as asynchronous tracks, later edited (and pitch corrected) together.

    That's why my comment was in purple!! :)

    Although... on some basic level, it worked at the asynchronous approach as you mentioned. I understand that he recorded himself conducting and shared that with those who sang to the conducting... then transmitted their recorded voice parts back to him.

    Either way, an incredible achievement. This was one of his smallest groups... he's done some with thousands. Incredible - but not live.
    Thanked by 2Elmar CHGiffen