School concert season is always an exciting (and stressful) time of year. Throw a pandemic into this mix, and many more emotions come into play. In this article, you will learn how to diversify your virtual concert into a full-length event.
Even if your school is teaching in person, it is likely that you will not be able to perform to an audience given the circumstances. We all know that virtual choir, band, and orchestra videos have been all the rage this season, but can you realistically perform a full-length concert of highly produced virtual performances? If you have the resources to do so, then yes! However, if this is not a possibility for you, here are some tips on how to create a full-length virtual school concert without breaking the bank.
The Key to Hosting a Full-Length Virtual Concert
The key is to diversify the types of performances showcased in your concert.
Virtual performance of entire ensemble
Collaborating with other ensembles in your school or community
Small group performances (using Acapella app)
Talent show / Open Mic
Virtual Choir Videos
The star of the show will be your well-produced virtual choir video(s). The term virtual choir is all encompassing; you can have a virtual choir video of your wind ensemble or jazz band. For this example, let's say you are a high school choir director with three different ensembles under your direction. You have a few options, depending on your resources.
Choose a piece for each ensemble to perform, and create three distinct virtual choir videos. This will be three videos, including all of your students.
Combine your ensembles to create one epic virtual performance. This will be one video, including all of your students.
Highlight your senior performers in a virtual performance. This will be one video, highlighting students with seniority.
Highlight your top ensemble in a virtual choir. This will be one video, highlighting your most advanced choir.
This is what your well-produced virtual choir video could look like:
Collaborate with Other Ensembles in Your School or Area
If you are a choir director, invite the band, orchestra, and/or theater programs to join in on your concert. If you are in a county with several schools and choir programs, invite the other schools to join in on your concert.
The benefits of this method are worthwhile:
You can realistically create an impressive full-length virtual concert by diversifying with different ensembles
Dilute the cost by sharing it amongst several programs/schools
Come concert night, your virtual audience will be plentiful. The more students to participate, the more families will watch, and the more you can fundraise to reimburse any production costs.
How Can I Create a Virtual Performace?
Through Auri Productions' Music Educator Fund, you can apply for up to $500 off your school's virtual performance(s). There are only limited funds available, and once they have been allocated, this discount will no longer be available. Be sure to apply while you have the opportunity for savings on our Virtual Music Services.
If you would like to DIY your performance, you can refer to our How to Create a Virtual Choir blog series. We also offer private lessons to help you along your way. However, considering that our virtual performance videos start at $499 (minus a Music Educator's Fund discount), it may be more affordable to outsource to Auri Productions than you would think.
Small Group Performances
You usually wouldn't have time in a typical school year to assign small group projects to your students, so you may as well take advantage of it this year! Here are a few ideas that you could incorporate, depending on your students' skill levels. Using the Acapella app, have up to 9 students collaborate on a virtual performance together.
Assign a group leader with the musical knowledge to be able to help others in their group successfully perform their part.
Students can choose from songs within your catalog, or create their own arrangement.
You may also allow solo student performers to showcase their individual acapella projects at the concert.
A downside to this is that there is a monthly subscription fee to this app. However, there is a 7-day free trial that your students may be able to take advantage of.
Talent Show or Open Mic
If you have time to spare, a talent show could be a great way to end your full-length virtual concert. Here are some options to consider:
Have students send in pre-recorded videos of their performance, or switch over to a live call.
If you find that there are too many interested performers, consider hosting auditions. This audition could be as simple as students sending in their pre-recorded video, and you chose which ones will be included.
To combat too many interested performers, you could also limit the opportunity to seniors only.
Rather than a talent show, this could be an open-mic, where anyone can opt in to perform, even at the last minute. The environment could be a casual hang, rather than a stressful concert performance. This would be possible via live call only, rather than a pre-recorded performance.
How to Stream Your Pre-Recorded Concert
With many pre-recorded aspects to your concert, you will want to stitch these videos together through basic video editing software. iMovie is easy and free to use on Apple devices, and Shotcut is a great tool for Windows, Mac, and Linux users.
If your school or music program has a Facebook page, using Facebook Live would be my recommendation. Learn how to create a FB page in just a few minutes.
Zoom is an option, but not recommended
If you have been on a Zoom call where the presenter shared a video, you probably noticed that it can be quite laggy and low quality. While there are ways to work around this (see this Zoom forum), I would not recommend hosting a concert with pre-recorded elements on Zoom for this reason.
If you would like to host a live talent show or open mic, learn how to present a Zoom meeting to Facebook Live. Consider hosting a prerecorded event via FaceBook Live, and taking an intermission before broadcasting a Zoom meeting for the talent show/ open mic segment.
If you feel comfortable, this concert could be a great opportunity for fundraising and/or reimbursing your production costs.
My personal recommendation is to create a Venmo account for your music program. There are practically no fees, the user experience is extremely simple, and the platform already has over 40 million users. You may want to record an introduction to your concert, informing your audience of a suggested price for admission, or simply letting them know that your Venmo is there should they like to donate. You can also include this information in the caption, comment section, or at the end of the video.
In Conclusion: Diversify Your Concert Night
By varying up the performances of the night, you can absolutely fill in the time that a regularly scheduled concert would take.
If you are looking to create a virtual music video with your school, consider applying to Auri Productions' Music Educator's Fund before all discounts have been awarded. If you would like to DIY your own project, contact us for private instruction or one-time sessions for troubleshooting, questions, and guidance. Our How to Create a Virtual Choir series is a great place to start, which includes this walk-through video:
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Grace Lowe is the social media manager and marketing coordinator of Auri Productions. Receiving a B.A. in music business from Berklee College of Music, Grace is an entrepreneur, music business buff, and musician. Aside from her work at Auri Productions, Grace is an artist and business owner of her handmade crochet apparel brand. Grace will soon be based in Los Angeles, and is eager to continue her small business and continue working in the music industry.