Tips for participating in the VFSS’s online song circles
Currently we are using the free Zoom software for our online song circles. You can join a Zoom session by computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux), mobile device (iPad, iPhone, or Android device), or plain old telephone (audio only).
You will generally have a better experience on devices with larger screens (computer > tablet > smartphone).
Earbuds, headphones, or external speakers typically provide better sound quality for listening to others than your device’s built-in speakers.
An external microphone, e.g., a USB mic or a mic built into a headset or set of earbuds, typically provides better sound quality for others listening to you than your device’s built-in mic.
Nonetheless, please do not not let the lack of a large screen, headphones, or external microphone stop you from joining us!
Note that online, we are not actually able to sing together, due to inherent limitations of Zoom. Rather, a single performer (or multiple performers clustered around a single computer or mobile device) will sing, and you can sing or play along at home while keeping your microphone muted. No one else will hear you!
Online song circle etiquette
The Zoom link and any other information required to join a particular event will be posted to the VFSS mailing list the day before. (If you are not already on the list, email a request to join to vanfolksong[at]gmail[dot]com.) We ask that you please keep the link, Meeting ID, and Passcode for our events private; do not share them on social media or any website.
Before joining a VFSS Zoom session, we ask that you set your Zoom screen name to include both your first and last names, for example “Jane Doe” (rather than just “Jane” or “doe” or “doe’s phone” or “iPad” or…). Optionally, you may also include your location, e.g., “Jane Doe (Burnaby, BC).”
Know where your Zoom Mute and Video buttons are. The Mute button mutes and unmutes the sound coming from your microphone. The Video button starts and stops transmitting the video of yourself.
Know how to use your computer’s (or mobile device’s) controls for adjusting the volume of your own speakers or headphones. Due to the wide variety of microphones and settings used by participants in a Zoom session, the sound level you hear may vary widely among the various talkers and singers, and you will need to adjust your own speaker or headphone volume to compensate.
While someone else is performing, please give them your attention, and don’t send chat messages.
If you plan to perform with an instrument (guitar, banjo, etc.), we ask that you activate the Original Sound feature of Zoom. You may also choose to do that if you are singing a capella, as it may improve the fidelity of your voice. For details on how to activate Original Sound, please read the guidelines that apply to your device, below.
Note that the Original Sound setting (as well as the helpful Gallery View vs. Speaker View setting) may need to be re-set when you are moved into or out of a Zoom breakout room.