UD#94 Send a Song
from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek
Moving to Zoom…
When the pandemic hit, I pictured myself shutting down the teaching studio and being forced to find some other way to make a living. I am so grateful that I have been able to continue teaching online. I’ve been surprised at how well it works. In fact, for practically all of my students, this period has brought significant growth.
There is, however, one serious drawback to online lessons: I can’t play with my students. This is because of the delay or latency in the system. What you hear and see actually happened a split second earlier, so it’s impossible to play together.
There are ways that we can still play together…well, kind of. Sometimes, I mute my student so that I can’t hear, them but they can hear me. Then, they can practice playing along. After we finish, they un-mute themselves and we check in about how it went. One of my students made an interesting comment,
“It went great! I like that you can’t hear me. Then I can make mistakes in private.”
I have also been sending my students a lot of recordings to practice with. And my students have been creating beautiful video and audio recordings of themselves. At our Summer Zoom Recital we gathered online to share our work.
Here is a lovely recording of Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” by Claralana. She made it on the GarageBand software with a Blue Yeti USB microphone. It’s a multi-track recording. She recorded the baritone uke part first, then she added the vocals. Have a listen:
Most modern recordings are made track by track. For example, the musician will record a guitar track and then the singer will add their part. Maybe later, they will add piano or backup vocals. I can still remember getting my first 4 track cassette recorder when I was in high-school. Layering guitar parts and vocals was the best fun ever. And I learned a ton about making music.
If you have an interest in multi-track recording, BandLab is a great place to start. It’s free, and it’s also possible to invite other members to collaborate on your projects.
One of my students has been working on a lot of duets. Since we can’t play together right now, I’ve been recording my part of the duet on BandLab. Then, my student can log on and record her part on top of mine. The result is pretty exciting!
Also, some of my students are collaborating with each other via BandLab. This way they have been able to keep playing music together, in a manner.
Graham and Fred collaborated on a great version of “In My Room” by the Beach Boys: the perfect song choice for the pandemic. Graham laid down his baritone (tenor guitar in baritone tuning) and voice tracks, then Fred added some guitar and bass. Here is a video of the song playing on BandLab. You can see all the individual tracks that make up the recording. Isn’t that amazing?
Aside from online recording platforms like BandLab, there are many great recording softwares out there. GarageBand, is a free software that works for Mac devices. Audacity is another free software that some of my students use. It works really well on both Windows and Mac. I use a software called Reaper, which is the cheapest studio level recording software available, and it’s free to try.
GETTING BETTER SOUND
In her recording, Claralana used a USB microphone which improves the sound a lot. Graham and Fred both use special audio interfaces to get a better sound. If you are just starting out, it’s fine to use the mics and inputs on your device. You can always upgrade to something better in the future.
Well, that’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed the newsletter.
All the best in your music making,