We Tried to Rehearse During the Pandemic

Because of traveling, our Trio halted regular rehearsals since December 2019 but continue planning the repertoires. On February 28, we gathered and played Mendelssohn’s piano trio #1, 2nd mov. etc. Soon after, the rehearsals were interrupted again due to traveling, and we planned to restart in late April. Then, the Pandemic came suddenly, and we were unable to gather for rehearsals. To continue the rehearsals, we selected Mendelssohn’s piano trio #1, 1st mov. to practice at home.

Surprisingly, in late May, I received an Acapella video from Joyce and she requested my collaboration to add my violin practice and pass on to Marie. This started our rehearsals at home using Acapella. We broke the whole movement in several sections, each with a playing time around 3 minutes. After watching the videos, we shared our interpretations on the music and how we can improve our playing. It is a new experience for me to record my practice and hear my own recorded video.

Acapella is a program for up to 9 musicians to record their audio and video tracks, and sync them sequentially to create one unique track. Musicians cannot play in the same time using Acapella, unlike real-time jamming software applications such as Jamulus and JamKazam. Real-time jamming provides technologies to keep the latency low enough so that the musicians plays at home separately but feel like they play together in the same room.

Real time Jamming: JamKazam 

I started to evaluate Jankazam for on-line jamming after reading an article from ACMP and watched a video of string quartet playing. I bought a USB microphone, a head phone and an Ethernet cable to USB port adaptor to my laptop for the evaluation. After setup the equipment, I tried many solo sessions and were unable to record the sound though I can hear my playing in my head phone. It seems that the server was overwhelmed. I joined and searched Jamkazam Forum to seek solutions without success. Then I found many articles and videos on using Jamulus for on-line jamming. 

Real time Jamming: Jamulus

This video “Online rehearsals with Jamulus” attracted my attention and motivated me to find more about Jamulus.

*** Jamulus is for playing, rehearsing, or just jamming with your friends, your band or just anyone you find online. Use your Windows, macOS or Linux machine to connect to Jamulus servers worldwide, for free over a normal broadband connection. Or host your own private server. Jamulus is designed for high quality, low-latency sound, making it easy to play together remotely and in time. Have a look at how people do it!

Jamulus is an open source software for audio recordings only and is well documented. This article “Getting Started” gives an overview of Jamulus and outlines on the “How to Guides” for the musicians to set up hardware, and connect with the servers. Followed the Guides, I set up the hardware, software and connected with the central server. I found many client servers on the screen and tried to find other musicians on the genre of “Classical/Folk/Choir”. The nearest places are San Franciso and Red Wood City, hundred miles away!

I was disappointment that I could not find musicians near me. Then, I found YouTube videos showing after the Pendamic, how Concordia Quartet began to use built-in PC microphones/ speakers and Wi-Fi network to play quartet from their homes, and later improved their sounds with audio interface and high speed wired Ethernet. Finally, they presented an on-line concert from their homes to share with the audience. Their “Working from Home VLOG” showed the process of their work in details which provides a guide for other music groups in on-line remote jamming.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *