Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to Glow!

Hey all - Stephanie here again with my follow-up blog post regarding Virtual Choir and how to Glow! If you missed that first post and would like to play catch-up, you can read it here.

I'm going to try and make this post short and sweet so you can jump right in this posts sums my experience with the honor choir in an easy 9 step process. Curious about how online choir project are made? Want to make one of your own? This may help. 

Anyway, moving right along....

Step 1: Go to World of Color Honor Choir's website, make an account and verify it.

Step 2: Click "Learn Glow", download your vocal part and print it out!  How else are you going to be able to mark it up with notes?

Seriously guys, MARK IT UP.  Circle your dynamics and problem areas.  Add S's and K's and T's where needed to remind yourself of your diction while singing.  This is a very smooth and melodic song, so you're also going to want to sing "tall" or "vertically" rather than "side to side" or "horizontally".  Add slashes where you know you're going to need to remind yourself to cut off.  Do whatever you've gotta do.

Step 3: Listen to "Glow" as a whole, and then practice your individual part.  Practice with the conductors track, and practice with the guide tracks!  (These tracks are available for download on mobile devices, so if you know your part you can practice on the go!)  Also, practice clapping when the "clap!" command shows up in the conductor video.  This will be used to help sync up the videos when they edit them all together.

Step 4: Put together a recording setup!  Things you'll need:

  • Computer with internetz
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • Headphones
  • Solid black or navy background
  • Adequate lighting
  • Bright shirt
  • QUIET 
For me, this step is always the most complicated and difficult. My setup usually consists of disassembling my computer, moving it, reassembling it, recording, disassembling it, moving it back and reassembling it again at my desk. It's.....messy, but it works for me!

Black background to the left, mouse for computer on the bench for easy clicking, webcam on a tripod, my giant computer monster from under my desk, an extension cord for the speakers, and my computer monitor on a chair because the power cord didn't reach any farther.  Also, I have my music taped to my tripod so when I needed to reference it I didn't have to move or look too far away.  

Your setup could be super simple - you could be sitting at a computer with a giant black sheet taped to the ceiling behind you.  Or if you're really lucky you have a dark wall in your house you can plop down in front of and just record there.  

The other super important thing you need to be sure of is a quiet environment.  No dogs barking, no wind or rain, no parents or housemates yelling at each other (or you) - just quiet.  I had to wait until my family was out of the house and then I left my dogs in the backyard for a bit while recording.  It can be a pain, but it can be done!

Step 5: Take a short break.  Have some tea and honey to help soothe your throat.  Avoid milk products, as your body with begin producing phlegm once ingested.


Step 6: Now it's time to record yourself!  Make sure you keep eye contact with Eric conducting/the camera.  Also, remember to clap three times at the beginning of the video so that the video editors know when to start syncing up.  Remember to wear a bright shirt that contrasts the background (no logos) and no hats!  Everyone wants to see your smiling face (:

More importantly, when you begin recording DO NOT STOP, even if you mess up.  Every time you make a mistake, keep singing through it.  When you go back and listen to yourself, listen all the way through!  You'll probably hear a few minor mistakes, but the vast majority of the song will be awesome and you'll feel a lot better!  Go back and work on the few things needing some clean-up and try again.

Record yourself 2-3 times all the way through.  I can almost guarantee (if you have practiced your part) that one of these takes will be the one you submit.  

Step 7: If you have some time, walk away from the computer.  Forget about singing for a few hours at least, if not a whole day.  Once you've spent some time away from your video, you'll be a little less critical of yourself and you'll truly be able to appreciate what you've accomplished!  It's like when writing an essay in high school; you always want to finish it a few days ahead of time so you can edit it with fresh eyes.

Step 8: Once you've reviewed your videos, submit the one you like best - if none of them are up to par, you can always record more.

Step 9: Go give yourself a treat, because you're done!  Print out your complimentary certificate and pat yourself on the back!  Then go out and eat some ice cream because now you don't have to worry about phlegm anymore!   Yaaaaay!

And now, breaking news on the Glow front lines:

YAAAAAY, everyone is a winner!

Anyway, some last-minute notes:
  • DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO RECORD AND SUBMIT YOUR VIDEO.  From my experience with Virtual Choir, the servers will go down for a bit on Saturday, and then definitely again on Sunday.  
  • If you're having any difficulty (whether it be technical, or you just need help with a measure or two in the music), check out the forums!  You're going to meet a lot of awesome people who want to help.
  • Enjoy what you're doing!  Smile at the camera and sing it!
  • Be sure to check out the FAQ on their website for any other questions you might have.
That's it from me for now, and happy singing!!!

If you liked this post and want more, please comment and let us know!
If you want to connect to Stephanie, follow her on twitter @GirlWithABowtie
Also be sure to follow @AceofGeeks for all updates Ace of Geeks related!

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