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Week Eleven

This week I struggled a lot with my work load and with some pretty severe burnout mid-week. With the end of semester coming up I’m finding myself inundated with assignments, essays and creative projects, as well as the start of two new programs with Sydney Philharmonic Choirs, my new job at Banksmeadow Public School and a five hour recording session on Tuesday with Laurence Pike for his upcoming album. While being an exhausting week, it was also incredibly rewarding and exciting to finally be a part of so many interesting projects, especially after COVID which took away many opportunities to perform and create with other people.

The recording session with Laurence Pike was my first opportunity to be a part of a professional recording, and was an awesome insight into what is required to create an album. Working with the composer, an unfamiliar conductor and a sound engineer was initially quite confronting but became quite logical and easy after the first hour of recording. We learned to work with click tracks, MIDI files played over headphones, even the difficulties of recording when working with both timestamps and bar numbers. It was a really interesting and eye opening experience in terms of sound mixing and balance as well, as even with balanced parts (in terms of numbers) we had to figure out how to achieve an even balance by manipulating tone and dynamics in our voices.

The music composed by Laurence Pike was beautiful and ethereal, but also dynamic as the haunting tones of the choir were contrasted by the accompaniment of drums and bells. I was fortunate enough to record a solo soprano line for the first track which was an amazing opportunity and I’m hoping I’ll be lucky enough to hear it again when the album is finally released.

I continued work on the ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ project my students and I have set upon. We completed recording (I think and hope) with all parts and students recording their own lines, checking their dynamics and timing and giving the okay on each section. The students listened to each chunk they recorded before reflecting on how it turned out on the computer before deciding to either re-record or move onto the next section. I really enjoyed that this task made my students listen a bit more critically to their voices, especially their timing and their dynamics to ensure we were recreating the original track in a way that was accurate, but also in a way that best represented their voices.

I’m finding the process of mixing the tracks incredibly difficult and challenging, but it is definitely helping me understand my students and their vocal needs/abilities much better. My next step will be to export the track from Soundtrap and begin to sync and edit all the videos as well so it can be presented.

I’m very excited about this project and I hope my students have found it as challenging and rewarding as I have!

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