Ah…the virtual choir video!
One of the most frequently asked questions by music teachers over the past few months has been:
“How do I create a virtual choir or ensemble video?”
“Which app do I use to make a virtual choir video?”
When the pandemic shut down schools around the world in March 2020, singing and playing in ensembles came to an abrupt halt. Many teachers were in the midst of preparing for concerts and came to the difficult realisation that the performance was never going to happen.
A virtual choir or ensemble video seemed like the perfect solution.
At that time, when many teachers were in survival mode and panicking about the way they would move forward with classes online, I felt that teachers should focus on other priorities like learning how to effectively use the school LMS, getting a grasp on utilising conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams and figuring out ways of teaching engaging online lessons.
My article Dear Music Teachers: Please Stop Asking How To Make A Virtual Choir Video set out to explain how involved that project can be, especially when you’re working with a large group of performers. It also explained that fairly high level tech skills and a decent knowledge of audio editing software AND video editing software were required to put the project together.
The intention was NOT to deter teachers completely from creating a virtual choir video (believe me, I love watching them as much as the next person!), but rather to explain the process so that if you decided to take the project on, you went in with eyes wide open.
At the time, I wrote that “there is no magic app” that would do it ALL.
Introducing Choir Creator
In July 2020, Oliver Carlock announced that he had indeed created the “magic app” that everyone has been waiting for – called Choir Creator – which is due to be released in September 2020.
Choir Creator promises to make the process of putting a virtual ensemble video together easier, faster and more streamlined.
At the time of writing – 30 August 2020 – the app is not yet available, so I haven’t had a chance to test it out, but it does look promising.
Update 4 October: Oliver published this Youtube video to let everyone know that the app release had been delayed.
How does it work? Is it only for choirs?
Despite the fact that the app is called “Choir Creator”, it will work for ensembles of any type: choir, band, orchestra, jazz ensemble and so on.
To see a walkthrough of how the app works for both the director and the singers, take a look at this walkthrough video on Youtube:
What you need to know
Here are a few things you should know about Choir CreatorThe app will be iOS only at launch, for both the conductor and all the performers. This will be a deal-breaker for many who are working with students using Chromebooks or Android devices (but…see next point)
- Oliver is exploring options for non-Apple platforms so that the performers can use Android devices or Chromebooks to create and submit their videos to the director
- It will be only released in the US and Canada (and maybe even Australia where I’m located!) to start with but other countries will follow
- This is a paid app which costs $20/month or $200/year, but only the director/conductor needs to pay that fee. It’s free for the performers in the ensemble to join your project and contribute their parts
- The app can accommodate up to 50 performers in a single project (although there may be a workaround for larger groups which involves combining two separate Choir Creator projects together in video editing software)
- You will be able to adjust the volume and pan levels of each performer’s video once they’re submitted. Other editing options will be added later down the track
- You will only be able to upload audio-only reference tracks for now, but there are plans to accommodate video reference tracks (so that students can follow your conducting gestures) in a future update
- The ability to export each individual video separately and/or the audio-only file of each performer is on the roadmap for future updates. This will allow tech-savvy director the option of using Choir Creator simply for the purposes of gathering student videos in a streamlined way which they can then edit in third-party video and/or audio software programs
Choir Creator is a very promising app and I’m excited to try it out once it’s released.
Now, who would like to join my virtual choir…?
Update 4 October 2020
Oliver Carlock – the developer of the Choir Creator app has published this video with an update on the release, plus a preview of some extra features
Connect with Choir Creator
Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.