The excitement is mounting at Voices Around The World! As usual we have been out and about visiting and supporting schools and have been listening to some fantastic choir and solo singing. Vocal recordings and videos have already started arriving at the VATW studio. Congratulations to all of you who are up and running with rehearsals and performances of this year's song - 'Lighting Up The Flame.' We are looking forward to receiving your vocal recordings, pictures and videos in the near future. If you have not yet got involved - It is still not too late to join in the fun! simply go to our website, register and download all of the free singing resources. The deadline for submitting recordings to VATW is 31 May.
More news, information and advice:
Rehearsals done ....ready for performances ....but are your singers ready for recording? Here are some thoughts about how to get the best vocal recordings.
Those of you who are experienced with working with microphones will know there is a world of difference between making a good recording and making a good stage performance. There is a tendency for students who are recording for the first time, to become over enthusiastic and shout at the microphone or compete with each other to get their voice recorded. This usually ends up in an unusable distorted sound. While it is relatively easy to boost the sound on quiet, well sung recordings, there is nothing we can do to improve distorted/over recorded sound recordings. Here are some tips about this and other aspects of recording
1. Get your students to practise singing in a soft sweet tone - remind them that, unlike singing on a stage, the microphone will do a lot of the work in projecting their voices on to the recording.
2. Experiment with getting your students to stand at different distances from the microphone. Around about 1m is often the optimum distance for recordings.
3. Check the instructions and guidelines on our website for lots of other good tips
To solo or not to solo ...that is the question. We are looking to feature a few gifted soloists on our July final mix this year. We have heard some 'mind blowing' and talented young vocalists in action this year. If you feel you have students in this category, please do take the trouble to record them separately. We are also very happy to look at students soloing in a way that interprets the song. Many older students, and sometimes younger students too, have a natural tendency to sing in a way using the vocal tricks that they hear their favourite singers using. We welcome students to contribute solos of this type - this may well be something we can use to enhance our final mix this year, but you need to be sure that any vocal ornamentation stays within the main framework of the melody and chord sequences in the song. This could be an exciting aspect of 'Lighting Up The Flame!' this year.
How many recordings should you send in? Should you record different choir part vocals separately?
Within reason we are happy to accept any number of recordings. You will often get the best recordings in small groups. It is highly recommended to put your very best singers together and, if necessary use them again on other recordings to support less confident singers. Recording choir parts separately ...the answer is YES YES YES. Please do make separate recordings - this makes for a far better final mix.
The power of synchronisation. Many of you have worked with VATW now for a number of years and will know that the mainstay of what we do is to work closely with the MP3 choir parts. We can never stress enough the importance of making sure the recorded vocals sent in are in strict synch with the MP3 template vocals. Please DO check this carefully. It is quite easy for 'slippage' to creep in and it is a shame to let this spoil an otherwise good quality recording. A fix for out of synch singing sometimes is to turn up the volume of the MP3 track that your youngsters are singing along with. N.B. Always take care not to play music in earphones at too high a level.
Planning ahead - meeting of World Leaders in 2018. Many thanks to those of you who have written to us in the past with ideas and suggestions for the project and for new songs that we produce. The project continues to gain momentum each year. Please continue to send any ideas to us as to how we can improve what we do. Any ideas from you or your students for future songs are always particularly welcome. 2018 looks set to be a very special year with an invitation by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for VATW to make a musical contribution to the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of State due to take place in London in November 2018.
Opportunities for companies to sponsor the work of VATW. We are always looking for organisations, companies or individuals who would like to partner with us and support the work we do. We have been fortunate to work with some very supportive partner organisations in 2014-16 but are still in need of further support to expand our work over the next two years. For anyone reading this who may be in contact with an interested company or organisation, please do not hesitate to put them in touch with VATW or let us know how we can get in touch with them.