Despite the outbreak, the pandemic has continued to alter our daily lives and routines. Distance and technology have made it easy to be together but also separate from each other. Jamming with co-musicians is now more accessible with the right gear, software, and reliable internet connection.
Most musicians have at least tried online jamming after participating in group calls or group chats using Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. While it may seem more convenient, the complexity and latency of the process can make it challenging to make good music with your band.
The question is, can you really conduct an online jam session? How can you set it up, and what factors should you consider? Are there proven tips from your peers who have done it once before?
How To Hold An Online Jamming?
While it presents a massive challenge, jamming or digital band practice is feasible with the right tools and tips from co-musicians. Several options are more convenient than others as you’ll only need a proper setup. Playing online is possible, and this might ignite future ideas too.
To succeed, you need to invest in proper setups like a superb internet connection and reliable gear design for the process. Whether you are contemplating which is better between behringer vs the competition, a high-quality audio interface improves the sound quality of your jamming session. Plus, you need to make sure your bandmates have stable, high-speed broadband internet to ensure no one is cut off or is lagging.
Once you have sealed the date, practicing comes next. Don’t expect Zoom, Skype, or other video apps to do the magic works. You’ll need the right tool for an effective digital jamming session. Your co-musicians may need to invest in a DAW or digital audio workstation to record correctly. However, this doesn’t mean you need to stash a massive amount of cash to set it up at your home. There are several affordable yet high-quality DAW to check on.
- Invest in a good quality soundbar/audio interface setup
- Ensure high-speed no lag internet connection
- Check with co-musicians if they have DAW
- Prepare all essentials for your jamming session
- Provide instructions with fellow musicians
- Check with producers or video editors to remix the masterpiece
While there are plenty of multi-platform solutions suitable for online jamming, checking on forums can help you decide on the best one. Real-time software can help you play music with your bandmates.
- Prepare your guide track.
Guide track serves as your co-musicians cue when recording audio to identify their parts. That is why you may see most musicians are wearing headphones or earbuds when jamming online. Guide tracks can be a click track or piano (metronome).
Ensure that your guide track includes a “clap” as a cue for your bandmates. Claps are imperative and serve their purpose efficiently. It creates a sonic and visual marker to help re-arrange for later editing.
Music sheets and instruction sheets need to be supplied too. Instruction sheets are random but essential, including
- Propping the phone or laptop at eye level
- Landscape mode and not a portrait
- Frame shoot
- Choosing the agreed background
- Not sitting against the light
- Wearing a specific color
- Avoiding bare and echoey rooms when recording, etc
- Collect all the videos
Once you are done collecting all recordings, your editor will need to collect them and place them in a folder. This is where the hard work begins but can be fruitful once everything is all set and done.
- Start editing the audio.
Editing and mixing the video/audio is the next task. There are plenty of programs to choose ranging from free to paid subscriptions. From autotune to muting unwanted sounds or background noises. Everything on this part is technical—the end result must be unified ensemble sound.
- Edit your video
Bringing the end result to your audio track paves all the hard work. After all the technical workaround, the product is an audio-video that you can share with your bandmates. You can tweak the result by adding opening or closing titles or credits agreed upon.
You can now publish and promote the masterpiece online and let your followers descend.
Challenges Of Online Jamming
Collaborating with fellow musicians in real-time is possible. However, there are particular challenges associate with the process, and this includes;
Most applications or video conferences are designed to provide a half-duplex approach. This means a single person can only talk at once. You may overlook this part in a conversation, but the software solution will prevent it when singing or playing simultaneously.
Delay, lagging, or latency is one of the significant issues of digital jamming. Most musicians may have trouble playing simultaneously as there will be 20 to 30 milliseconds of delay. Regardless if you have a faster internet connection, distance is a significant issue.
Video conference software is designed to optimize voice communications. Frequency is limited, and most programs are using automation with volume control or echo suppression strategies. When used for playing music, the program can wreak havoc.
While the situation limits social gathering, collaborating to create music can be done through digital jamming. With several trusted services and solutions, preparations, and equipment, you’re one step closer to successfully recording great music.