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Role: Co-Host, Tech B, House Manager, Scribe

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below. A Zoom Co-Host fills the role of House Manager and Usher at a real-world event. You manage the “door” (waiting room), monitor the chat, support the Zoom Host in answering questions and pasting links into the chat, and support the MC as a scribe to keep track of singing order for session singers in a singaround. You are a silent partner whose job is to remain calm, keep everything running smoothly, and take some of the pressure off the MC and Zoom Host so they can keep the audience and the artists relaxed to enjoy the show. What You Need A computer or laptop (not a tablet or smartphone) running Windows or MacOS Reliable internet access with high bandwidth: a wifi location close to your router is better, a wired Ethernet connection is best The latest versi

How-To Guides for Zoom Singing

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below. This preliminary list of guides to Zoom singing is indicative of the huge demand for online singing and the success of Zoom as a platform for singers, despite the lack of real-time harmony. This list is actively being maintained and updated, so please add any additional links in the comments below. Special mention is due to the San Francisco Folk Music Club for the breadth of their offerings, and to the Golden Link Folk Singing Society of Rochester NY for their clear and friendly style. Both have inspired me to follow their example, and I applaud their authors. Thanks for the inspiration. Camp Harmony Zoom Pointers from the San Francisco Folk Music Club Complete Guide to Zoom Audio Settings for Music Teachers from Midnight Music EFDSS Zoom Tutorial

Mermaid's Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below. NOTE Other platforms are working on real-time or near-real-time singing together over the internet. This project focuses on Zoom as the most popular platform and currently the easiest to use. Subscribe to this blog for future posts about Driveway Choirs, Bucket Brigade Singing, Virtual Choirs and apps, and other ways of making music together online. CONTENTS (Work in Progress) Quick Start Sample Running Order for a Concert and Singaround What’s Your Role? Role: Zoom Planner Role: Zoom Starter Role: MC, Compere, Session Leader Role: Zoom Host (Tech A, Engineer) Role: Zoom Co-Host (Tech B, House Manager, Scribe) Role: Feature Artist Role: Session Singer What You Need Gear: Studio Gear Gear: Stage Setup Settings: Best Quality Sound Settings: Sec

Role: Zoom Starter

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below. The Zoom Starter is a licensed user on the sponsor’s Zoom account. If you have login credentials to that organization’s Zoom, you hold the keys to the meeting. Your only real task is to log in to Zoom and start the meeting, and wait for the designated Zoom Host (Tech A) to join. After that, you can transfer control to the new Zoom Host and leave if you choose. If you are also the Zoom Host and/or MC (compere), you can take on the duties of those roles. Or you can sit back and enjoy the event! What You Need A computer or laptop (not a tablet or smartphone) running Windows, MacOS, or Linux Login credentials: the email address and password for the sponsoring organization’s Zoom account. If you don’t have this, you will need to get it from the sponsor, or arr

Role: Zoom Host, Tech A, Engineer

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below. As the Zoom Host for a music event, think of yourself as running the control room with the help of your Co-Host(s). You take care of all the behind-the-scenes stuff so the MC can concentrate on hospitality and keeping the flow going. For a concert, you are also the technical liaison to the Feature Artists. Your job is to make sure they have all the Studio Gear they need to give a show, that it is working correctly on the day of the event, and that they have given permission to record the concert or to avoid recording if they have not granted permission. You may be the Zoom Starter yourself, but you do not need to have a paid Zoom account to be a Zoom Host. You do have to be comfortable using Zoom to be a Host. You can get some practice by offering to be a

Role: MC, Compere, Session Leader

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below. The MC, or compere, fills the same role you would at a real-world event. You are the Mouth for the organization at concerts and the session leader for singarounds. You are the Friendly Face and audience liaison, providing hospitality, making announcements, introductions and thanks, and answering questions on mic. You may be the Zoom Starter yourself, but you do not need to have a paid Zoom account to be an MC. Being both MC and Zoom Host is a lot of work for one person. We recommend that you designate a separate Zoom Host and Zoom Co-Hosts to handle the tech, manage the waiting room and chat, and be the Feature Artist liaison at the event. What You Need A computer or laptop (not a tablet or smartphone) running Windows, MacOS, or Linux Reliable internet a

Settings: Getting Best Quality Sound

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below. This post is lightly edited from the excellent webpage on Using Zoom on a Desktop or Laptop from the Golden Link Folksinging Society of Rochester, NY. We thank them for their commitment to best quality sound. Getting the Best Quality Sound Since we are playing music and singing songs rather than just speaking, we’d all like to be heard at our best. There are a number of factors that will affect your audio quality on Zoom. The more of them you can apply, the better your sound will be. Microphone - The vast majority of participants, including session singers, just use their built-in microphone on their computer or mobile device and that will work fine. Feature Artists take note: if you have a good quality USB microphone or an audio interface and stage mi

Sample Zoom Event Running Order: Concert and Singaround

This post is part of a series intended to become a Mermaid’s Tavern Guide to Zoom Singing publication for folk arts organizations, feature artists, session singers, and online audiences for folk music. We welcome comments below. This example is for a 3-hour event from 7-10 pm with two Feature Artists and a breakout session. Starting the Event 6:20 pm Zoom Starter starts the meeting. MC and Techs A and B join and are promoted to host ( Zoom Host ) and co-host (Co-Host and MC). 6:30 pm Feature Artist(s) join for final tech check. MC confirms website and tip jar links from each Feature Artist, and willingness to host roundtables in the breakout session, and introduces the Zoom Host for tech check. Zoom Host confirms that each presenter’s video, audio, and lighting are correct and functioning for best quality sound , confirms recording permission, and may choose to start the recording or wait until start time. Co-Host monitors the waiting room and messages the audience as needed t

Mermaid's Tavern Sessions go Zoom-Only in October 2020

 October marks eight months of Mermaid's Tavern programming, six months of DIY Digital coaching and research, and 45 livestream events. Facebook has also launched new livestreaming policies and a new look with changes that impact livestream hosts and audiences. Digital Heritage Consulting has taken a deep dive into our core mission, live production numbers, platform policies, and level of effort. It is clear that our session audience overwhelmingly prefers the interactive experience on Zoom. For security reasons, Zoom links will continue to be mailing list only, with a same day email option for first-time listeners. Our much smaller Facebook audience is made up almost entirely of casual listeners from the mailing list who enjoy multitasking, and the occasional singer who wants to replay and learn a song from a prior session.  We can meet both these goals without risk of noncompliance with Facebook livestream policies. We will refocus on using Facebook events to advertise the Zoom

Who Sings When? Ways to Manage an Online Session Roster and Singers' Queue

When we're together in real life, there are some recognized forms of etiquette for how to manage the order in which singers follow each other in a session. What is similar, and what is different, online? Common Real-Life Models for Song Sessions POPCORN SING The most informal has been called a "popcorn sing." Each singer takes their turn as the spirit moves them, in response to a segue or as in conversation. This works great for a smaller group, and/or for singers who know each other as a community. CIRCLE SING (TALKING STICK) This is the most common format for more than 20 singers, and/or at a festival or event where people don't know each other well. Participants sit in a circle. The session compere starts the session and indicates the direction around the circle. The compere may provide a talking stick or a twig as a tangible item that gets passed around the circle so everyone can see whose turn it is. CURATED SING These are less common IRL in North America, but

Live From the Mermaid's Tavern Houseconcert FAQ

One of the objectives of The Mermaid's Tavern is to support my community of folk and heritage musicians facing the losses of income, audience, and a touring lifestyle disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Another objective is to encourage and inspire musicians to make the pivot to digital business by supporting you through this digital transformation.  What do you mean by digital business and digital transformation? There is opportunity online that has not been available to folk musicians in my lifetime. Anyone with a computer and internet can use free/affordable hardware and platforms to reach a global network of community audiences in participatory live performance.  Live music after the pandemic will not look like it did in the Before Times. That's a good thing. Digital transformation in the music industry has disrupted independent artists from the death of coffeehouses to streaming services for pennies a play. Livestreaming can help you build an audience that will buy yo

Live From the Mermaid's Tavern Participant FAQ

If this is your first time at a Mermaid's Tavern online session, especially if you're joining close to the start time, please take a moment to review these Frequently Asked Questions before you reach out by email, message, or text.  When is the next online event Live From the Mermaid's Tavern? https://www.facebook.com/pg/digitalheritageconsulting/events http://calendar.lynnoel.com Are these events on Zoom or on Facebook? We use Zoom for session/open mic singers and stream the Zoom feed to Facebook Live for listeners. This lets people multitask while enjoying a live session from home, and helps the session Compere stay focused on participants in the Zoom chat. A House Manager/Scribe follows listener chat in Facebook and works with folks needing help to join Zoom. We've found that it's really helpful when this is a separate role from the Compere/Stage Manager. "I think this lets people engage at the level that fits their headspace of the moment.  Th

Live From the Mermaid's Tavern: Reflections on Our First Six Weeks

Six weeks ago, I started a digital houseconcert series on the fly to help local artists and my local folksong society respond to the Covid-19 crisis. I'm astounded at how quickly it's become A Thing.  I've just been invited to be one of ten guests on a live web chat with the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) called " Yes we CAN keep in touch!  Connecting Our Communities During the Pandemic " on  Wednesday, April 29, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT. This blog post is a draft of my notes for the 3-4 minutes I will have to answer the questions below for a CDSS audience, and some reflections on why online community matters. Leading up to and following the live event, I'll tighten up the "script" and enhance this post with more audience and artist quotes and links to more deep dives into the Q&A posts earlier on this blog. What is your group doing and where are you located? Live From the Mermaid's Tavern is a participatory livestream concert/sessio