First I want to say that I think the videos of all of the kids playing together at the same time on a screen is cool. It is inspiring. Let it be known that I am not here to put those videos down or the people who made them. But as a teacher...I felt immense pressure. Friends and family were sending these videos of students all playing together on the screen saying "you should totally do this with your kids!" On the other side of things, I was hearing horror stories from everyone who did it. Hours of editing on top of the already mounting pressure to make music work in a completely distance learning model. AH! My blood pressure is rising just remembering this time!
How we recorded the music: Using Soundtrap
Thanks to my district, we were able to buy Soundtrap software to be used by the orchestra to collaborate again as an ensemble. I think the best way to describe Soundtrap is what one of my 9th graders said, "So it's like google docs meets garage band??" The students can collaborate simultaneously on a sound file. Everyone is recording their own parts...but having the opportunity to play along with other student recordings. Cool stuff, right? Yes.
Step 1: Obtain Soundtrap from district. You can also try out their 30-day trial if you're not sold on this idea yet.
Step 2: Experiment with Soundtrap yourself. Make a few recordings of your own. Running into problems yourself will help you troubleshoot before the students have a chance to get frustrated.
Step 3: Teach your students Soundtrap. It can be easy to assume that our Gen Z students just know how to use this stuff. They don't. Plus some will likely be pretty reluctant because learning a whole new software sounds like a lot of work. I made a quick powerpoint to share the basic ideas with the students. You are welcome to use these slides as well!
Our Final Products: Click to enjoy!