WCC Spring 2022 Practice Files
Using the Practice Files:
1) The practice files use an educational software package called SmartMusic, in conjunction with a music notation software application called Finale (which is the app I use to create the files). You can set up a free SmartMusic student account, which gives you the ability to do things like download PDF files of your parts and even have the computer record your singing and assess how well you're doing, but you can easily use it without setting up an account. (I have not tried out the assessment feature, and you don't need to use it -- we're not being graded.) If the computer asks for permission to use your microphone, you can feel free to decline it.
2) I have verified the ability to use the files using Google Chrome on a Mac and Safari on an iPad. I think they should work fine on other browsers or tablets, but let me know if you run into difficulties. You cannot use a smart phone (the display is not big enough). The user interface seems to have been designed to use on a computer with a mouse -- using my iPad works, but I sometimes have problems with my fat fingers. See this page for some general usage information.
3) The first time you load a file, it always starts with the piano part, and then you can choose your part from the dropdown menu. To change your part, press on the button in the top-middle of the display that says "Piano". It will then show the other parts above the piano selection -- press the part you wish to rehearse. (You may have to scroll up to see the top selections.)
4) Also at the top of the page, there are three volume sliders, one for “Accompaniment”, one for “My Part”, and one for "Metronome". To the right of the sliders are little speaker icons that are used to mute and unmute that section. If the icon is highlighted in red, then it’s unmuted. If it’s just gray with a slash through it, then it’s muted. The first time you open a file, your part may be muted -- for our purpose, you'll want to unmute it to be able to hear how your part sounds.
5) One very useful feature that you'll want to check out is the ability to set up "loops", so that you can practice a small group of measures over and over without any intervention. To set up a loop, press the "Loop" button in the top-left of the display. Click in the measure where you want to start the loop, and then press the "Set" button to allow you to set the loop start and end points. When you're done practicing with the loop, press the "Clear" button, and then press the "Tracks" button to go back to the volume and parts controls.
6) To start playing from a certain measure, simply scroll the display to show the measure you want to start at and click inside that measure.
7) I have not included the entire piano parts (would take me forever to enter them into the computer), but have done enough to hopefully provide prompts for singing and pitch.
8) I can control the general tempo of the pieces, but the playback software seems to ignores tempo alterations like ritards and fermatas, so it's not a perfect substitute for live rehearsals.
If you discover mistakes in the music (I am sure there are some), or have any difficulty getting the files to work on your computer or tablet, or just any question in general, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 508-451-0477. I will try to remember to bring my iPad with me to chorus rehearsals, so feel free to ask me usage questions before or after rehearsals.
What a Wonderful World (small group)
Somewhere (small group)