How to record The Linden Tree

Thank you for agreeing to take part in our After Winter digital project. In this page we will discuss how to record your audio for the The Linden Tree.

Here’s some things you need to know:

  • After following the steps below you will have recorded an audio file of yourself singing.
  • You will listen to a backing track while you record, but it is very important that the recording you submit does not include any audio from the backing track. Make sure to wear headphones so we can only hear your voice (and the claps you will record at the beginning).
  • The deadline to submit your recording is 12:00 noon on Monday 6 July.
  • We will publish the instructions on how to record your video in the afternoon of the 6th.

Step 1 – Learn your part well

If you are a member of Streetwise Opera, remember to practice with our learning track here.

If you are member of Brodsky Quartet or Genesis Sixteen, you will find your parts here.

Step 2 – Set up your recording tech

If you are using your phone, you will need to install the Voice Record Pro app. Check out our quick tutorials on how to install it for Android (Samsung, Huawei, HTC, Google, Nokia and others) here and iPhone or iPad here.

We recommend you watch our 10-minute tutorial on how to use Voice Record Pro here. And if you have any questions please get in touch with Rey Trombetta at rt@streetwiseopera.org.

If you are using a home studio or a professional recorder (Zoom, Tascam, etc), please use the settings described here.

Step 3 – Choose the best location for recording

Ideally you want a place that is quiet, where you will not be interrupted. We prefer you do this indoors, as doing it outside might also capture the sounds of other people, traffic, birds and other animals, and wind.

You want to choose a room that is not too echoey, ideally with furniture, clothes or soft surfaces that will absorb any echo. A good tip is to take a clothes hanger, hang some towels or bed sheets from it, and place it in front of you while you record. Here are some photos of how people set up their home studios to get the cleanest audio.

We know it’s getting hot this summer, but you might want to close any window while you are recording, to ensure the room is as quiet as possible, and open it again as soon as you are done.

Step 4 – Choose the best moment for recording

Set a time when you know you won’t be interrupted and you won’t be in a hurry. Also, ideally a time when noise from outside will be minimal.

Before you start to record, pay attention to the sounds from outside the room. Is there a loud appliance on, is there the noise of traffic or a passing train? Maybe wait a bit until the noise passes and then record.

Step 5 – Get your phone or tablet ready

Make sure your device has enough battery or it is plugged in to a power source. If you are using a phone, you might want to set it to Do Not Disturb or Turn Off Notifications, so that you are not interrupted by a phone call or a message. Remember to deactivate these options once you’ve finished your recording.

If you only have access to one device, you will still need to go online to watch the backing track while you are recording, so setting the phone to Airplane Mode might not be a good idea. But if you know how to change from your mobile connection to just wifi, do that.

Step 6 – Queue up the backing track and you are now ready to record

We’ve put together a video with a backing track with baritone Roderick Williams singing his parts and Hannah Conway singing the Streetwise Opera parts. Hannah will count you in every time you need to sing. The video includes lyrics and other cues to help you while you are recording.

Remember to watch this tutorial before you do any recording with the Voice Record Pro. 

Once you are confident about how to use the app, you are ready to go. Start to record and then play the backing track video here so you can sing along with it.

IMPORTANT TIP – At the beginning of the backing track you will hear 6 clicks. Once you hear the first one, make sure to clap in time with the other five. It is very important that you record these claps, as they will help us sync all the recordings we will use.

If you have access to two devices (another phone, tablet or a computer), we suggest you play the video there and listen to it on headphones while you record on your phone or tablet. If you are using open headphones to listen to the backing track, make sure the volume is not so loud that it will leak into your recording.

If you do not have another device, and you are listening to the backing track and recording on the same phone or tablet, here’s what you will need to do:

  • Go into Voice Record Pro on your phone or tablet. In the main screen, tap on the gear (Options) icon on the top bar.
  • Choose the first option (Settings).
  • Choose Advanced Recording.
  • Make sure the Mix With Background option is active (it’s a toggle switch that needs to be set to the right).
  • Tap on Done on the top right.
  • Press the Rec or Record button.
  • Make sure you’ve selected all the right options in the Advanced tab (Record format: WAV, Bit Depth: 24 Bits).
  • Tap the bars icon (Levels) on the top to make sure you are not singing too loudly or quietly.
  • Tap on the checkmark button.
  • Tap on the Rec or Record button a second time to start your recording. You should now be recording.
  • Leave the app, get on your device’s web browser, go to the backing track at streetwiseopera.org/linden and press play on the video.
  • Sing along with Hannah and have fun.
  • Once you are done, go back to the Voice Record Pro app and press the Stop button.

Step 7 – Make sure you are happy with your recording

Have a listen to your recording. If you are not happy with it, you can try several times. You may submit up to two recordings of the song, and we will try to choose the best bits from each one.

Step 8 – Send your recording to Streetwise Opera

If you used Voice Record Pro, we would prefer you send your recording via email as a password protected link. We explain how to do this from 07:58 in this tutorial.

If you are using a home studio or a professional recorder, just forward your audio file to Streetwise Opera at info@streetwiseopera.org. It is likely that the file will be too big to be attached, so please upload it to Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, DropBox and send us the download link, or use a free file transfer service like WeTransfer or WeSendit.

You will not receive an automatic email notification confirming we have received your recording. But we will monitor emails regularly and write back confirming we have your recording as soon as possible.

Remember, if you have any questions or need additional help, please get in touch with Rey Trombetta at rt@streetwiseopera.org.