During the lockdowns in 2020-21 some members of Hexham Orpheus Choir recorded themselves singing their part to contribute towards online ‘concerts’ on YouTube. Although we are singing live now and are not recording ourselves any more this page has been left as a useful guide to the process.

Here we have a guide to recording yourself. There is no compulsion to record but many people find that it is a satisfying conclusion to learning a piece when proper concerts are not possible during the Covid pandemic. However, remember that you are not singing a solo and, just as in a real concert, your voice will be mixed up with all the others when they have been combined.

There are two ways of going about this:

  1. Two devices: Listen on one device through headphones and record yourself on a second device. For example, you could listen to the guide track on an iPad and record on a smartphone. There are many other combinations though, and you may want to experiment with what suits you best. The guide tracks include those with emphasised parts for your voice as well as a full mix.
    Remember to record audio only, and not video, so please use a suitable app.
    On iPhones this is ‘Voice Memos‘ and on Android you could use ‘Voice Recorder.
  2. A computer using suitable software: it is possible to use one device, usually a computer, if you install software such as Audacity if you are using a PC. This software is available for Macs, but there have been some problems recently, and you could use GarageBand instead. Both are free. The attraction of using this type of software, called ‘Digital Audio Workstation’, or DAW for short, is that you can import a guide track into them, and then create a second track for your voice. If you align the two on the claps then you can play both back together and see what you sound like much better than simply playing back your track on its own on your phone.
    Using a computer will also make it easier to connect an external microphone if you have one, and the sound quality may be better if you do. However, some cheap microphones may be poorer quality than the built-in microphone on your computer or that in your phone.

It is vital that the guide track cannot be heard on the recording – it should only be your voice. So do not play the guide track through speakers – always use headphones.

The Recording Process

When you record yourself please follow this sequence:

  1. Start your recording device
  2. Clap: Each track starts with a count of 1, 2, 3… followed by a clap. This is to help align your recordings so that we are singing together. So it is essential to clap at the exact moment that you hear the clap on the guide track. If you are late it won’t work!
  3. Sing your part whilst listening to the appropriate track – try to keep in time! The clicks should help you!
  4. Stop recording when you have finished.
  5. Listen to yourself – this part is optional – some people are alarmed the first time they hear their own voice! However, you may decide that you could correct that mistake, so go back to number 1 and start again. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.
  6. Rename your recording – once you are happy you should rename the audio file so it matches your part and the piece, eg. Lander-Sop-Maria or Away-Bass-Take 25. Actually you may prefer to leave your name out of it!
  7. Send your recording to the nominated email address – this will be in the email containing the guide tracks.

Recording on a Smartphone: there may well be an option to ‘Share’ the recording after which you should choose ‘Email’, enter the required email address and send it.
Recording on a computer
: If you are using a computer you should export just the track you’ve recorded, not the guide track, and not the previous 24 attempts either!

Good luck!