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Zoom Recital FAQs and Tips

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

By the time you're finished reading this post you'll have answers to FAQ’s and helpful tips to participate in Mr. Shaun's live student recitals on Zoom.


“What is this?”

Reaching a crescendo during the COVID-19 pandemic, online student recitals allowed us to perform in front of a live audience by streaming at home rather than gathering in a crowded concert hall.

While some wax poetic about the things lost in online music experiences during the pandemic, I prefer to focus on what we achieved. Music teachers like me, comfortable using technology, are creating performance spaces online so students can continue to reap the benefits of solo performances without exposing anyone to COVID-19 while including viewers who cannot attend in-person concerts.

“Why participate?”

I can’t sum this up in a quick blog post, but I’m guessing the reasons below will be meaningful to you.

Playing for a live audience in a group of their peers provides students a rare growth opportunity. I hear variations of the comment, “My child already does this in [group activity].” Playing solo at a recital is harder than performing in the context of a group and can yield incredible benefits.

While facing stressors like vulnerability, nervousness and anxiety, students have to simultaneously execute deeply challenging tasks at an extremely high level on the spot. This may sound harsh especially for young children, but bear in mind students are completely safe and the stakes are low.

Positive stress like this ignites growth, developing resilience, agency, and self-efficacy. These are the skills students will need when the stakes are not low.

Recitals also provide students, teachers, and parents/guardians with an impetus to ensure practice occurs. Peer pressure is a strong motivator to prepare for a live performance.

Participating in recitals shows students that their efforts in music lessons are a worthy endeavor. Students who have a sense that recitals are important have an easier time finding motivation to practice. Adults have agency with K-12 musicians in this particular head space. We should act like recitals are important because this mind frame is useful to encourage practice. You can act like recitals are important by making time in your busy schedules, asking students how we can prepare, and inviting friends and family to attend.

Talent, money spent, the time you’ve put into lessons, attending recitals, finding a good teacher- that's all like kindling. Practice is the spark-producing friction that ignites the music lesson benefit conflagration. This includes brain benefits to the individual, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and building community. All of these elements feed off each other. If one or more elements are removed the music lesson experience begins to falter.

Attend the recital to keep your lessons’ benefit blaze burning brightly.

"Who Is Allowed To Come?"

Guests help make recitals special. Please invite family and friends!

"May I Turn Off My Screen During The Recital?"

Yes, you may turn your screen off. Feel free to use a virtual background too.

This includes performers and any attendee. It’s up to each individual to choose how to be seen on Zoom.

"How Do We Setup Our Performance Area?"

Pianists should aim the device so the camera angle looks something like this:

Wind players’ camera angle should look like this:

(Don't put a music stand in front of your face!)

Everyone should consider:

  • Lighting- Light should shine on you, not into the camera lens. Try to avoid pointing the camera directly at a window or other light source.

  • Feedback noise- if multiple devices are being used in one home there can be loud feedback noise. Consider watching in a different room if you’re using additional devices in one home. Triple-check that your device is muted.


Use the Chat Box

Applause at a virtual recital isn't audible to performers obviously. So, It’s nice to type encouraging words in the chat box. Performers can read comments after they play.

Some folks use the chat box in lieu of applause. Try posting an emoji. 👏 Of course you can clap into the camera too.

Update Your Apps. Charge Your Devices. Check Your Internet Connection. Be Aware of Time Zone Differences.

If you think 20% battery is just enough to get you through a recital, think again! Devices running out of battery charge don’t transmit video well enough for a music performance.

Best Zoom Sound Settings for Musicians on a Computer

Click on Settings > Audio

  • Under the Microphone category, uncheck "automatically adjust microphone volume"

Click on Settings > Audio > Advanced

  • Check the box “Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from the microphone.” (This allows you to enable original sound in a meeting. Switch this feature on in the top right corner of the video window during a Zoom meeting).

  • Under the drop-down menu for “Suppress Persistent Background Noise” choose Disabled

  • Under “Echo Cancellation” choose Auto

Best Zoom Settings On A Device

  • Click Settings > Meetings > switch on “Use Original Sound”

  • Once in the meeting, switch on enable “original sound” under the “More Menu" (The more menu is those 3 dots in the top right corner on iPad).

Wire Music Stand Hack

If you don’t have a mount for your device, trying using a wire music stand to get a better shot. The picture below illustrates one way to use a music stand in lieu of a mount.

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