Apocalypse Ukulele Club for the Era of COVID-19!

Okay — here’s the plan:

WHAT: A Ukulele Club for Quarantine Fun!Β  — 1st Test Run! (via Zoom)

WHEN: Monday 3/23/2020 7:15 pm (but let’s all try to log in at 7pm)

HOW: We’ll connect using Zoom (not Facebook — we looked into Facebook but it turns out not to be the best solution.) See steps below for connecting via Zoom. It’s really not hard — and you do NOT need a Zoom account to use Zoom. I have an account, and that’s what we’ll use. A few minutes before 7pm on Monday evening I’ll send out the instructions via email.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: A computer (or cell phone) with video and audio. And a ukulele. And a willingness for this to be chaotic (and maybe frustrating) in this first-time-test with many people trying something new at once. And patience … because… well, again … we’ll be figuring things out. But we’ll all get it. And it will be awesome to have a ukulele group online. πŸ™‚

WHAT WE’LL DO: Our goals for this session will not be very ambitious musically. This time will be more about figuring out the technology and seeing how this can work. Here’s the plan:

  1. Between now and Monday:
    • If you’ve never used Zoom before, then, if possible, reach out to a Zoom-using friend or relative (MANY people are using this to connect now) to do a test run so your system is already set up and you’re familiar with how this works. Using Zoom is no biggie, and it’s lots of fun. If it’s not possible for you to reach out to a Zoom-user, no worries, we’ll try it live on Monday.
    • Mobile users-smartphones & tablets, you will need to download the ZOOM Cloud Meetings app onto your device BEFORE you try to enter the session.
  2. On Monday, shortly before 7pm
    1. Set yourself up somewhere comfortable. Earbuds or headphones or an external speaker give the best sound, but you can also use the speakers on your computer.
    2. I’ll send out an email with the Zoom link.
  3. You’ll click on the link and join the meeting. If it’s your first time ever on Zoom, it’ll ask you to download a file and run it. Do that. It’s okay. It’s good. Life will be better afterwards. πŸ™‚ It’ll also ask you to test your audio and video. Do that. And give whatever permission it asks for, like giving Zoom permission to use your microphone and your camera. Say yes (you can always stop the camera or mute the mic later). Then, you should be into the β€œRoom” — and Zoe and I will be there.
  4. If there are problems and you simply cannot connect during the call — or you’re having trouble with your video or audio sharing or some other fiddly frustrating thing and we simply cannot figure it out ‘live’, it might be that we’ll have to figure it out separately afterwards. Don’t worry. That’s why we’re doing this first test run — to figure out where there are issues so we can resolve them. And we will. Just send me an email and we’ll figure out what to do. Also see #8 below. No stress – We’ll get this.
  5. My guess is that connecting everyone through zoom and figuring out the technology could be what most of our time will be spent on — as we’re a lot of people (20-ish, maybe?), many of whom probably haven’t Zoomed before. That’s okay.
  6. Once we’re as set-up as we can be on our zoom call, we’ll try to play Sweet Caroline together*. That’ll be basically it, musically, for this first session – because this is really about figuring out if/how this is do-able. The music sheet for Sweet Caroline is here:Β  https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1mB9D0jbSbf3l6nPponKSczPuPnrV2bjWΒ  (Important: See ‘WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW’ below.)
  7. Last, we’ll figure out what comes next in terms of scheduling going forward and other details.
  8. After our Zoom call I’ll send out a follow-up email with the info that comes out of our meeting. Anyone who doesn’t end up connecting during this first meeting (see #4 above) can find out what’s next in this follow-up email: next scheduled date and/or whatever else is needed.

*WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The technology for connecting and playing music together at the same time ‘live’ over the internet really isn’t that terrific yet. Because of latency (the delay between making the actual sound at the source and when it ends up playing through your speaker at home), it’s pretty much impossible to get everyone in time to the same beat, and there can be lots of echoes and distracting sounds if we’re not careful. Our solution will be that WHEN WE ARE ACTUALLY PLAYING, we’ll mute everyone but Mark and Zoe (who will be together), and everyone can play along at home. Thing is, you’ll be able to SEE each other but not HEAR each other. It’s not perfect, but for now it’s what we have — and I think it will still be pretty darned good, with all of us still really and truly getting together and playing music. We’ll see what happens. I can almost guarantee that something will go wrong, but that’s okay. We’ll figure it out eventually.

This is all a big experiment — but nobody is going anywhere, right? Zoe and I hope you’re up for this with us! πŸ™‚