We held a band practice last night. While in the strictest sense we could have followed social distancing guidance and gathered in one large place, we took a different approach.
We fired up Zoom video conferencing and gave that a try. We will continue to work out technical challenges, but here is a few things we experienced with our first try:
- The meeting host was on a laptop, and every time the roll-offs started, the built in mic couldn’t handle the volume change (auto adjustments) until after the 2nd roll. So we all had to be very good at counting time 🙂
- Cell phone versions of Zoom don’t have the same settings controls. We discovered that the app automatically adjusts the speaker volume down when the mic detects sound. I’m sure its to prevent feedback, but it did prevent us from having everyone hear everyone else. We are looking at using headphones and/or computers (laptops) where available.
- We had each participant other than the meeting host mute their mic so that they could hear over the speaker the streamed music (below).
Fortunately, the Pipe Major had previously recorded each of the medleys as an MP3 for each member to practice with during the time apart, so we were able to stream that from the meeting host (including the bass and snare parts on his side) so everyone was able to play along together even if we couldn’t hear all the other players.
We hope you are staying healthy and safe!