Playing online

Edited: January 6, 2021, 7:46 PM · My teacher is trying to find software that may make it easier to actually play with individual students online. Is anyone familiar with anything that might work? I know it's quite challenging at best...

Replies (14)

Edited: January 6, 2021, 8:06 PM · If you mean play together, live, then it's an impossibility. Even with the fastest internet connection in the world, you will always have that gap of a few milliseconds each time your data changes hands. From the software to the network, network to the server, server to the recipient, and then to their screen, and to their ear, so on and so forth... It adds up. There's a funny experiment where they play a loop of what someone is saying back to them at a slight delay, and it totally messes up their ability to form sentences. I guess playing music with a delay is the same sort of thing.

I think Zoom in high-fidelity mode is where it's at if you don't want to do lessons in person.

January 6, 2021, 8:39 PM · When I want a student to play with me, I ask them to mute themselves. I can get the information I need about how they’re doing by watching the screen while I play.
January 6, 2021, 9:06 PM ·
Edited: January 6, 2021, 11:33 PM · Zoom just doesn't work for playing together, for all the reasons Cotton noted. We do use it for lessons, of course. No one is doing in person lessons in my area, not since March, and I don't think it will change anytime soon.

Mary, I will pass along your comment to him, thanks! I think we're basically hoping beyond hope on this one.

January 7, 2021, 5:03 AM ·

January 7, 2021, 5:04 AM ·

It's audio only but may be worth a try

Edited: January 7, 2021, 8:03 AM · Steve, sadly we do need both...I appreciate the links though. I will pass along comments and suggestions to Bill.

Jamulus isn't private unless you happen to have a private server, and my teacher isn't going to do that. Nor can I blame him. Also the audio-only option probably won't work, at least not at my level.

Edited: January 7, 2021, 4:19 PM · What people are doing is to record each player individually and then use some software to assemble them all together. Actually playing together isn't possible.
January 7, 2021, 5:13 PM · Thanks David - that was my assumption but it didn't hurt to ask. The issue is that, as a student, not being able to play WITH anyone, including my teacher, is starting to hold me back. I know many of us are in the same shoes, but after 10 months of not being able to even play with my teacher more than twice makes me about ready to give my eye teeth to change that, to coin and old phrase. I know many of of us are in this position which is why I've been hesitant to say anything.

My teacher has also been looking - I'm his only student who lives alone and truly has no option to play with anyone, so we've been brainstorming. I'm also frustrated that my playing quality seems to go south as soon as I stand front of my laptop - but that's for me to figure out.

Edited: January 7, 2021, 7:38 PM · That’s the standard thing during lessons, isn’t it? ‘I could play this at home” is a common refrain.
I suspect it’s a combination of nervousness about playing in front of your teacher, and because of that you’re listening with a more critical ear, then if you’re like me, once your playing starts going south, it accelerates.
I took a break from lessons last year for various reasons, and am now trying to pluck up the courage to start again. My teacher is using Skype, which I haven’t tried yet.
We’re waiting with baited breath to see if our Squawkestra can play together for real this year. We almost had the virus licked, but now that really contagious mutant may have got into the community and that could change everything back again.
For last year, we had zoom rehearsals, and initially tried playing 2 at a time , but it was impossible.
The second half of the year was taken up with playing around with BandLab , which is one of the ones where the technology (and a person) collates it all together.
It’s not the same though, and I could never get it to work properly on my iPad.
January 7, 2021, 8:41 PM · Try an accompaniment CD, or an accompaniment app, to practice playing with someone else.
January 8, 2021, 7:38 AM · ...and if the accompaniment is audible in the student's space, the teacher can appreciate the ensemble, "live" as it were..
Edited: January 8, 2021, 6:36 PM · Thankfully I've recordings to prove I can play it better :) He is really focusing on helping me take both of the Reiding pieces (Concertino and Concerto in B Minor) to performance level. We aren't moving on until that happens - and I don't really want to.

Lydia, that's a great idea and hadn't thought about that. YouTube certainly has those - especially for the Concerto.

January 8, 2021, 6:39 PM · There have been past threads where people talked about high-end, high-speed, very tech-detailed setups that apparently "come close" but they don't seem to be in the purview of a typical user who is unable/unwilling to spend a whole lot of resources researching and acquiring all the necessary components - and would still not beat playing in the same acoustic space, with speed of light, speed of sound, etc.

I've gone about breaking down "playing together" into specific reasons/benefits, then finding ways to address them separately. For example: giving and following entry cues, following phrasing/dynamics/articulation gestures, matching pitch and hearing intervals, matching my bow placement and bow distribution, keeping steady with the beat or following a tempo change. Of course it's more straightforward in live playing but without that, we just do what we can with specific activities for specific things.

When a student plays with me on mute, I see what they are doing (and I have improved at knowing what sound "looks like") but can't really adjust my playing quickly in response to what they are doing. I keep playing what I meant to play and they may as well be playing along to a recording (of me or of someone else). It's helpful for when I need them to try something by following me, but then I also need to hear them do it without me.

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