With most of the Western world quarantined at home right now many choir leaders are rightly concerned about the impact of Coronavirus on their choirs and businesses.
Beyond the obvious financial worries that choir leaders have, the weekly choir practice is, for many members, a social highlight of the week.
But what can you do if you can’t physically meet together?
As Coronavirus hit, the team at Choir Player was in the middle of a Beta Test for our new Subscription Portal.
Rather than cancel development we’ve decided to extend the free Beta Test so that all choirs can benefit from the platform. As choir leaders you’ll be able to provide a great practice tool to your members.
Your members will be able to access the songs your choose using the app and practice at home.
What’s even better is that you can bring your choir together for a weekly online rehearsal using a platform such as Zoom in conjunction with Choir Player. As well as singing the songs together you can build in some Q&A and chat time too.
STEP 1: Register for the Subscription Portal here.
STEP 2: Set up your choir(s). For each choir you have the option to upload your own logo which will appear in the app and be seen by your choir members.
STEP 3: Enrol your members. You will need to provide an email address for each choir member so we can create log-ins for them.
[We never share users’ data. Please see www.choirplayer.com/privacy-policy/ and www.choirplayer.com/terms-conditions/ for full details.]
STEP 4: Select your songs.
STEP 5: Activate your “subscription”. We will provide you with dummy payment details.
STEP 6: We will email your choir members with instructions on how to download and use the Choir Player app and access the songs you have chosen for them.
We believe that the on screen instructions will suffice and you may not need any further help. But just in case, we have prepared two User Guides for you.
NB – if they have used the app before they must download the latest version (Version 1.7 for iOS/Apple, Version 1.7.3 for Android)
This free test allows you to provide 30 members with 10 songs. It is possible to exceed those parameters but we would have to charge you for any excess (see Step 5 in the Step-by-Step Guide).
We hope to keep providing the service free-of-charge until choirs get back to normal. Like everyone else we have funding issues but we will do our best to keep the service going.
Zoom is a great piece of software, simple-to-use and provides you with the ability to see your students while you are teaching them (assuming they have their phones or webcams appropriately positioned).
We’re not saying its a perfect solution but as choir leaders we need to do the best we can. We will be trying it with our focus group and will provide further guidance and advice as we get into it.
You send a Zoom link to the students before the class starts and they can either attend live or watch the catch-up using either their phone, tablet or computer.
The free version allows for up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes a time. For £11.99 a month your ‘meetings’ – you’ll call them rehearsals – can be up to 24 hours! You will also be able to access a video recording of the rehearsal that people not able to attend at the time can watch afterwards.
You’ll be able to see everyone logged in via a grid view and you can zoom into have any one person (likely yourself) to fill most of the screen.
You’ll need to have everyone’s mics muted during the call (unless they are asking a question) and you’ll play your Choir Player app in the background teaching as you usually would. Obviously you are not going to be able to hear your students (the everyone mics-on option is really not going to work) but they will hear the backing track and be able to see everyone else singing.
We’d suggest you stop every 20 minutes to allow for questions and feedback. At any point a choir member can raise their virtual hand to ask a question.
Digital marketing specialists The Digiterati have featured Choir Player in an article about how to use Zoom for online rehearsals. The article also includes lots of other practical ideas that you may find helpful.