Here are some ideas to make use of a pandemic. I will keep adding more to this as I learn more things.
Everybody Music is a group that meets on Zoom to share ideas and music and try out some of the resources shown on this page. It meets every Wednesday from 5 to 7 pm Pacific time. The meeting ID is 8437924381. No password required.
Zoom.us. I think that most people reading this know about Zoom as a way to connect. It is hard to play music together on any music platform because of the built-in two-way delay. There are ways to make good use of the platform though. The first thing to know is that it sounds best on a computer rather than a tablet or phone. If you are on a computer, you can disable the algorithm that optimizes speech but practically ruins music. Go into preferences. Click Audio. On the bottom right, click advanced. On the top of the screen, check “Show in-meeting option to Enable Original Sound from microphone. When you’re in the meeting, make sure it says turn off original sound in top left of the screen.
One thing I like to do on Zoom is to have a musical conversation just like a “normal” conversation where only one person speaks at a time. It can actually turn into a master creation. You might want to record it. (record option is on the bottom)
Jamtaba is my favorite online jamming tool. I was jamming with people in Argentina and Germany at the same time. comMUSIkey has upgraded its internet so we are able to host these jam sessions. I invite you to download it. And experiment. And I encourage you strongly to ask me to help you get it set up.
flat.io is an online music notation platform. But it is also much more. It’s a way to share and collaborate on notated music. You can actually have multiple people entering and changing notes at the same time. There are various levels of cost including free. I’m registered as a teacher and there are ways you can take advantage of that. I invite you to try it out. It’s as fun as any online game. You can have multiple people playing around with the same score at the same time. It’s cool. Even if you don’t know how to read music you can have fun and learn at the same time. And of course, I can help!
Noteflight.com is more in-depth than flat.io but it’s also harder to grasp and so far as a teacher I’m gravitating more towards flat.io. I’m not sure how useful the free version is.
bandlab.com is a free cloud-based recording platform. So far it seems to be buggy but maybe I just haven’t figured it out yet.
Soundtrap.com is also a cloud-based multitrack recording platform. You can import songs you create in flat.io. They have a free version. I’m still exploring what it can do.
Audacity is a free open source recording software that lives on your computer. It’s much more capable than any of the online programs. It doesn’t record virtual instrument tracks though, so you need I will be working out the details of how to mimic what the online ones are doing by uploading files to the cloud. It’s probably my favorite of all these apps.
Reaper is produced by a company with a social conscience. I think it might have overtaken Audacity as my favorite. I’m still testing it out. Normally you can try it fully functional for 60 days free. Here’s what the license says:
1.2 License After Trial Period. If you continue to use this Software after the Trial Period, you are required to purchase a license. The license fee varies according to your use, as follows:
a) A commercial license currently is $225.00 USD.
b) The following users are granted permission to purchase a discounted license for $60 USD:
i) You are an individual, using REAPER® only for personal and non-commercial uses.
ii) You are either an individual or business, using REAPER® for a commercial purpose, and your annual gross revenue derived from commercial activity does not exceed $20,000 USD.
iii) You are an educational or other non-profit organization.
So they use the honor system. All my favorite entities do that including myself. And now they offer a free temporary license for those working from home. So this is the perfect time to use it.
I can help you with any of these things. email me at jb@comMUSIKey.org and we’ll figure out the best communication strategy.