By Ukulele staff
“I’ve been doing Zoom workshops all throughout our quarantine period,” says Lenny San Jose, also known as Ukulenny. “It’s crazy to say it, but it’s almost like I can feel the vibrations from the other ukuleles and voices from across the world! Just seeing everyone’s faces singing and jamming along brings me joy, and the support of the ukulele community has been incredible, especially in these tough times.”
Ukulenny currently hosts free workshops via Zoom and Facebook Live three days a week, and has gotten video lessons and streaming down to a science. “My favorite things about Zoom are the versatile screen-share options, the ability to switch cameras and audio (Zoom is really versatile if you’re using multiple sources), and the easy streaming capability to Facebook, YouTube, and many other platforms,” he says. “I love using it to host open mics and showcases, and it has the capability to feel like a radio show or a talk show, presenting multiple artists in the same room.”
Here are some tips from Ukulenny on using Zoom and other video chat applications for group chats, hangouts and lessons.
- When leading a song, everyone else should be muted. To avoid feedback or echoes, train your fellow ukulele players to mute themselves.
- Learn to mute everyone—find it in the “Participants” tab or use the shortcut: (Alt+M / Cmd+Ctrl+M).
- To facilitate conversations, assign a moderator to mute and unmute people who want to speak. Having a few co-hosts is a great way to share the responsibility!
- Encourage folks to use the chat window
- Polls are a great way to get input from your community. You can prepare them in advance and see live results when you activate them.
- Zoombombing is real! Use security features to prevent unwanted visitors from joining your jam.
- Only publish meeting IDs and passwords to secure locations (email or private FB group, as opposed to public posts)
- Use the “waiting room” so you can at least see the names of folks who are coming in (and encourage participants to use real names as they log on)
SOUND YOUR BEST
- In audio settings, “Enable Original Sound”
- Disable “Auto Adjust Volume” and both “Background Noise” settings (advanced tab)
- Use a USB mic or interface for best results
- Use headphones! If your speakers are on, they can feed back or cause noise cancellation issues.
- Do a soundcheck with a friend or group. Sound can get pretty wonky on these internet platforms and it definitely helps to practice.
- Click “Gallery View” to see everyone strumming at the same time. So fun!
- The “Spotlight” feature is a great way to highlight someone teaching or performing. This affects everyone’s view, versus “pin video,” which affects only your individual view.
- Use “Share Screen” to display chord charts. Participants on the other end have control of how big or small the window is, so don’t worry if you think your window is too small.
- To share audio from your computer, click “share computer sound” in the “Share Screen” dialog, or go to the advanced tab to share audio without sharing your screen