Essentials

Recording Deadline: December 6

Submit your final recordings of Bell Carol à la Big Band and Good Swing Wenceslas (concert band) and Swingin' Jingle Bells and Swingin' (Silent) Night (percussion) by December 6, 2020.

Download Music

Need a part or score for reference? Download from OneDrive.

🔗 Swing Along Nutcracker Music

Conductor Videos and Reference Recordings

Bell Carol à la Big Band (Concert)

Good Swing Wenceslas (Concert)

🔗 Swingin' Jingle Bells (Percussion)

🔗 Swingin' (Silent) Night (Percussion)

Submit Recording Here

Concert Band
Upload your Bell Carol recording file here:

🔗 Upload Bell Carol

Upload your Good Swing Wenceslas recording here:

🔗 Upload Good Swing Wenceslas

Percussion
Upload your Swingin' Jingle Bells recording here:

🔗 Upload Swingin' Jingle Bells

Upload your Swingin' Silent Night recording here:

🔗 Upload Swingin' Silent Night

Everyone
When you have submitted your recordings, please fill out this short form with your name and part:

🔗 Recording completed form

Get Started

This page contains resources you might need to prepare your recording submission. Some suggestions:

  1. Download the music and, if you like, the scores for the music we'll record.
  2. Read the recording instructions to learn about what tools you'll use and how you'll produce a recording for submission.
  3. Review the recording deadlines.
  4. If you're thinking about investing in a microphone, headphones, or other equipment to improve your rehearsal and recording experience, check out Tim's equipment recommendations!
  5. Review the tips and tricks for the best recording experience.
  6. Use the play-along reference recordings with click tracks for reference, practice, and for tempo when recording.
  7. Practice, practice, practice! Try a sample recording to critique your own performance and make adjustments as needed.
  8. When you're ready with your final performance recording, submit it! Once you've submitted all your recordings, also complete the final submission form with your name as you'd like it listed in the performance credits.

Recording Instructions

These recording instructions should help you produce the video file for submission, with a consistent look and sound that will help us successfully edit all of the parts into an ensemble performance. If you plan to use specialized audio equipment for recording, see the notes in the Recommended Equipment section.

Things You'll Need

  • A cell phone with a camera to take the movie of yourself ("Recording Device")
  • A second device ("Playing Device") with access to the internet (cell phone, tablet, computer) to listen to/watch the play-along conductor video while you film yourself with the Recording Device.
  • A music stand and your printed music or PDF of your music displayed on the Playing Device
  • Wired headphones to listen to the recording on the Playing Device
  • A quiet place with in which to film yourself (turn off any air conditioners, loud lights, any ambient noise)
  • A steady place to set your cell phone camera to film yourself (examples include propped against a book, a tripod, or having a friend hold it steadily for you)

Setup and Practice

  • Go to the spot you decided was good for filming (quiet and solid background). Bring both the Recording Device and the Playing Device.
  • Turn on the Playing Device. Attach your headphones. If you have a closed back or earbuds as headphones, put them over/in one ear so you both hear the video and yourself playing. Open up the play-along conductor video (see Essentials above) and press play.
  • Practice playing along with the video while listening in your headphones.
  • Orient your Recording Device with the screen horizontally (landscape orientation) and place it propped against a book or in the tripod so you are in the video window. Make sure we can see from your belly button up to the top of your head. Find a spot with good front lighting so that your face is clearly lit.

Recording

  • Go to the play-along conductor video for for the song you wish to record.
  • Start filming! First start recording on the Recording Device (your phone should show a timer and a little red dot to confirm it's filming), then press PLAY on the play-along conductor video on your Playing Device.
  • Play-along with the video through the end of the piece. Take a few seconds after the end of the music to smile at the camera (at our friends at home) before you lean in to stop the recording.
  • Remember, just like in a live concert, we can hear you even when you aren’t playing. Please keep the non-musical noise to a minimum but still have fun and dance around!
  • Upload your video from your Recording Device by clicking the submission form link (see Essentials above). Sometimes it takes a couple tries, so keep going until you get a confirmation that it has uploaded.

What To Wear

  • Concert Band: Bright colors, based on the Nutcracker poster art (see poster below). Dress/accessorize/make-up as a Nutcracker character. Quietly have fun and dance around during your rests. Be your character and be light!
  • Percussion Ensemble: Dress in the most glaring ugly holiday sweater! Quietly have fun and dance around during your rests. Be your ugly sweater and be light!
  • Swing Band: Dress in your purple passion vests with black shirt, accessorize with classic swing-era hats, jewelry, drink glasses, etc. with your own holiday twist. Quietly have fun and dance around during your rests. Be the classy jazz cats and kittens you are and be light!

Tips and Tricks

  1. Record in a place with lots of sound absorbers (bed, carpet, cloths, etc.)
  2. Use the best camera and microphone you have, (if it’s your iPhone, Android, or Pixel: record on that device!)
  3. Play full note lengths and energize to the release of each pitch, even in a decrescendo. I can’t add length or energy to your notes in editing but I can remove length where needed.
  4. Brass players: Don’t point your bells directly at the microphone, off set a bit to avoid popping.
  5. Practice taking a couple videos to listen and watch yourself. Make adjustments to your setup to achieve the best sound and capture your best faces (even the silly ones!)
  6. Be kind to yourself and don’t work for perfection. You are a beautiful and worthy artist enjoy expressing yourself through this music.
  7. Breathe with expansive relaxation of your muscles. The air will help alleviate nervousness and tension.

Recommended Equipment

When recording instrumental music, it's best to avoid using a headset/microphone combo; the microphone will capture your mouth noises more than your tone. If you have noise-canceling headphones, turn off the noise canceling feature when recording.

If you plan to use an external microphone to capture higher-quality audio with your laptop, please record video on the same take with your cell phone as you record the audio with your laptop. Then upload each recording using the submission links above. We'll use the higher-quality audio from your laptop recording, but the consistent format of the video recording will make our editing easier.

If you're thinking about investing in some new equipment to help with your home recording, here are some items you might consider (if you buy from Amazon, be sure to use Amazon Smile!):

Nutcracker