Virtual Recitals on YouTube

Host a Virtual Recital on YouTubeWhat do you do when your students have a conflict with a scheduled studio recital? I usually have one or two students in this boat, but this year it happened to over half of my bassoonists! All of my high school students qualified for the Utah State Solo/Ensemble Festival—and the festival just happened to coincide with my studio’s scheduled spring recital.

Preliminary efforts to reschedule my recital fell flat, so I went out on a limb and scheduled a virtual recital for that day instead. I had never coordinated a virtual recital before. I’d never seen anyone do a virtual recital before. I just needed a solution and this one seemed as good as any. (I may have also been influenced by the Zoom H2n recorder I had recently purchased.)

As most of my students had their solos polished and ready for the festival, all I had to do was record them. I did so during their regular weekly lessons. I had no recording experience prior to this, so I read the H2n’s user manual and jumped right in. (I have since taken Coursera’s free course Intro to Music Production. I highly recommend it!)

I edited the audio recordings with Audacity (free and open-source). I made very basic graphics with composer, piece, and performer info using picmonkey (also free). Then I threw them all together using Windows Movie Maker (free again). Then I uploaded the videos to my studio’s YouTube Channel.

Fortunately, all but one of my students’ pieces are in the public domain, so I didn’t have to worry about licensing or other copyright issues. I emailed my students and their parents the YouTube link and told them to watch all the videos, not just theirs. Some did it and others didn’t. I also asked them to leave comments. No one did.

Overall, I think the virtual recital idea worked well. I am glad that my students have a quality recording of themselves. I’ll continue to make recordings whether or not we do an official YouTube event. The recital gave me the motivation to learn how to use my recording equipment.

I’m thinking that our next virtual recital will be around Christmas time. No one really wants to go to one more recital in December. Students could also use their recordings to send to grandparents or others as Christmas gifts. Check back in December to see how that goes…

Until then, leave lots of (friendly) comments on my students’ videos. ;)

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