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Topic: Preparing Teaching Tracks (Read 766 times) previous topic - next topic

Preparing Teaching Tracks

I have a new choir and have been thinking about how to help them learn their parts. I'd welcome feedback on this topic:

What is the best way to deliver the tracks? CD, Internet - on a website, by email? I've got some choir members who don't use computers...

Has anyone (and is there a way to do it) made youtube videos using an mp3 version?

If I had to make a cassette tape (yikes) for someone (are those even still available to purchase?), what would be the best approach?

What else should I be thinking about?

Years ago, a group I worked with could download a trial version of NWC and practice with scores that way, but I don't think that possibility exists anymore, does it? The benefit was they could see the music part light up as they heard it.

Thanks for your input!

Re: Preparing Teaching Tracks

Reply #1

Maybe the object/user tool combination rehearsal.og can be helpful.
Its purpose is creating seperate files for the different voices, by specifyng a.o foreground and background volumes and stereo pan.

(I myself am not a musician, but a tech guy who likes to sing in a choir, and with that tool I've become much more confident during the repetitions (and performances).)
Always look on the bright side of life!

Re: Preparing Teaching Tracks

Reply #2
I prepare rehearsal parts for my choir all the time.

Here is a rundown in it's basic form, which you can build on and add your own style.

Starting off with a nwc music file, generally you will have four voice parts (SATB) and some form of accompaniment.

So my process is this ;
Reduce all of the parts to  much lesser volume .   So by default, each part/instrument will be at 127
I would reduce all of these to about 60
save the nwc file as your master file.
For each voice (S, A, T and B  or more if you have for example SSAATTBB) do the following.
1. Change the volume on the voice to about 120 so that the one voice is at 10 and the remainder is at 60.
2. Remove all dynamics from that voice and then add an FFF marking at measure 1 for that voice.
3. Remove all MPC volume instructions from that voice.
Save the nwc file as name-voice.nwc
Repeat this for all the voices that you wish to make rehearsal files for.

Now, you will now have a voice file for a specific voice where the voice part will be enhanced over and above the other voices and the accompaniment.

Repeat this process for the remaining voice parts using the master file that you created earlier as your starting point.

Now, the thing is that you can now give these out to your choristers, and tell them do download the NoteWorthy Viewer or send it to them if you know that their email will accept executables.

The thing about the NoteWorthy Viewer is that ;

1. It is free
2. If the chorister has trouble singing, for example, a run, NoteWorthy Viewer will allow you to slow down the tempo without degrading the pitch.
3. If they position the cursor at what they consider to be a difficult portion to sing, they can just hit play at that point and then, at the end of that section, just press play again and it will re-start again at the point where the cursor was originally positioned.

The above is only the basis of what I so. There are many other things that you may decide you can add into this to help your choristers.  This is something that you will develop over time and usage - but the basis is here.



Re: Preparing Teaching Tracks

Reply #3
Hi Rich,
what you describe is almost exactly what I have been preparing for my choir mates over the past 15 years or so (as a just-singer with no further musical education). It is a still manual procedure, which was greatly eased with the advent of the R command a couple of years ago.
But what I don't understand in your description is: Why do you remove all dynamics and MPCs from the emphasised voice, and put that staff on a constant fff velocity?
In my rehearsal files I keep all dynamics (which are normally velocity-controlled) as they are. They are not disturbed by raising or lowering the staff volume, and the effect of staff volume 120 versus 60 for the dimmed voices appears sufficient for emphasis, while still having the dimmed voices audible for reference.
In those cases where a volume change would be used  (mostly, to achieve a dynamic variance over a sustained note), I simply use expression MPCs instead (and that already in the master file, for all voices). Other than volume variations, they do their job unaffected by any change of staff volume (At least with the standard sound equipment found on most home computers, AFAIK 'volume' and 'expression' act on the same MIDI parameter, without disturbing each other).


Re: Preparing Teaching Tracks

Reply #4
Jumping in, since I used to prepare choir rehearsal files. My method was quite simple. I created a file with each voice on a different channel. I then modified the stereo pan for the soprano to 0 and the pan for the other parts to 127, and saved the file as name-S. I then repeated the process, setting the alto to 0 and resetting the soprano to 127, and Save As name-A. Similar for tenor and bass. The listener hears their part in one ear, and the others in the other ear. Creating each file (after the initial prep) was less that 1 minute each. Dynamics (which I rarely used) would not be affected. Just my two cents.

Re: Preparing Teaching Tracks

Reply #5

   Using Noteworthy Files with a suitable emphasis, and the Viewer is good, but as good - and with the advantage that it works for people with Macs, Tablets and Smartphones - is turning them into Midi versions.  I make a Master Midi - with all the dynamics and so forth - and then directly prepare from it whichever Voice-emphasised versions are needed.  For this I usually employ Chris Hills's - - MidiPlay, which works fine.  You can see/listen to the results on my Website,,

   MusicJohn, 8/Feb/20

Re: Preparing Teaching Tracks

Reply #6
Wow! I just realized that I did not respond to the helpful comments here from February. (I entered a very busy concert season, and then the pandemic shut-downs left me even busier learning to create and participate in on-line music activities. I had to learn a number of new software programs to make music videos for my groups.)

So, thank you to everyone who posted a reply here. Because we suspended all in person choir activities, I didn't prepare any rehearsal tracks for them. However, now I am thinking about doing it again, as a continuing way to engage them. I have been just sending out youtube links to familiar pieces that they can sing along with. I've also been using rehearsal and performance recordings that I made earlier, editing them in Audacity, creating lyric slides, then combining them into a "music video" that they can sing along with. (It doesn't show their notes, though.)

I think I would like to teach them something new, virtually. It doesn't look like it will be safe to have choir for a long time. Right now, there are different researchers trying to determine how safe singing is, but until we know more, we aren't singing together. So, having rehearsal tracks may be helpful. Not all of my choir members are computer savvy, so I may end up making CDs for those who don't want to use the internet.

I think I do want to try to use the NWC Viewer, so they can see their scores. I'm also thinking about providing mp3s instead of midi, to have greater control over what they hear on their end.

Now, the thing is that you can now give these out to your choristers, and tell them do download the NoteWorthy Viewer or send it to them if you know that their email will accept executables.

Rich, do you combine all the parts into one score or do you provide separate versions of each part to be rehearsed with using the Viewer?

Belated thanks again to everyone who told me their method. If anyone else has a different approach, I'd be happy to hear about that as well.

Re: Preparing Teaching Tracks

Reply #7
Rich, do you combine all the parts into one score or do you provide separate versions of each part to be rehearsed with using the Viewer?

For example, an SATB score, I provide four nwc files, one for each voice part where that voice part has been enhanced and can be heard over and above the other voices. So a tenor rehearsal file would have the accompaniment, and the SA and B voiced at a volume of say 60 while the Tenor part would be at 120 with no dynamics.  (OK - you wouldn't sing it like that - but this is to learn the notes, it is not teaching how to sing the music if you see what I mean). Remember also, that if the chorister thinks that they have cracked the notes, the viewer allows them to  mute their voice part and just sing along with the other voices and accompaniment to prove to themselves that they really do know the notes.