Updated July 8, 2021
Here are our recommendations regarding technology, devices, and home rehearsal setup in order for your boy to get the most out of this season.
Main device for rehearsals:
For our Zoom rehearsals, we recommend a laptop or desktop computer (Mac or Windows). Choristers have reported challenges and inconsistencies when using Zoom on phones, tablets, and Chromebooks, so we do not recommend them as a main device.
Tablet (not required; for digital sheet music only):
While hard copies of sheet music and theory homework will be provided, if choristers opt to use digital sheet music, we strongly recommend using a secondary device (like a tablet) with score-reading software such as ForScore (for iPad) or the MobileSheets Pro app (for Android). Splitting the screen on one device between Zoom and a PDF of the sheet music – or flipping between Zoom and PDF applications – has not proven effective for choristers in the past.
We recommend a high-speed internet connection, preferably fiber. (See below for Virtual Studio internet requirements.) Now is a great time to check your internet speed, especially if there are multiple family using your connection during evening rehearsal time. Check your internet speed at speedtest.net.
We recommend a quiet room free from distractions where your child can sing loudly without disrupting your family. This will be especially important for any boys using our Virtual Studio consoles. During rehearsal, your chorister should either stand, or sit at a table. He should consider the area visible behind him; a simple background or virtual background works best. When making Zoom recordings for concerts, if your child chooses to use a virtual background, we will him to use either a blurred virtual background or one that looks like a room.
Printer (not required):
A printer is not necessary, for the reasons listed above. However, we will provide PDFs of music and theory materials for you to print if you wish.
Ragazzi Virtual Studio requirements
We’ve been working with tech leaders to test and improve Ragazzi Virtual Studio, a remote rehearsal technology that improves audio quality and reduces latency.
We will notify you when your boy’s group becomes eligible for the Ragazzi Virtual Studio device. At that point, a rental fee of $75 will be due. Families who qualify for financial assistance will receive a discount.
When your boy begins to use the Virtual Studio device, we will recommend the following:
High-speed internet: Fast internet (preferably a fiber connection) with upload and download speeds of at least 5 Mbps. Check your internet speed at speedtest.net.
Wired internet connection: The console does not have WiFi, and you will need to connect it directly to your modem with an ethernet cable (which we will provide).
Headphones: The console requires wired (not Bluetooth) headphones. We recommend headphones without a built-in microphone. For best results, consider on-ear, open-back headphones, which allow in sound from the room (including your chorister’s voice). Grado SR60e headphones are a relatively high-end example of open-back headphones, but you can find lower-priced ones like the Philips SHP2000 or the Koss Porta Pro. It’s also fine to try less expensive headphones (though we generally recommend on-ear headphones rather than earbuds).
Microphone stand: We will provide a microphone, but it will be necessary for your family to purchase a tripod mic stand with a boom arm. This design will allow your boy to sing directly into the mic while sitting or standing. Examples of stands we recommend are the Amazon Basics Tripod Boom Microphone Stand and the On-Stage MS9701B+ Heavy-Duty Tripod Microphone Boom Stand. Other stands are also fine as long as they are tripod design and have a boom arm. We do not recommend tabletop microphone stands as they do not allow for height flexibility when choristers are asked to stand while singing. Tuition assistance funds have been set aside for microphone stands should this additional purchase present a hardship.
Good lighting: So we can see your chorister’s face and ensure they are participating fully, we recommend having light facing your child from the direction of their laptop or desktop. A desk lamp or ring light works well, but any lighting that allows your chorister’s face to be seen is fine. Please eliminate or do your best to limit light behind your chorister, such as a window or room lamp, as those will backlight your chorister and his face will be in shadow.
Headphone extension cord (optional): So your boy can stand and move freely during rehearsal, we recommend a 6-foot (or longer) extension cord for his headphones.
Long ethernet cable (optional): We will provide a 5-foot ethernet cable to attach the device to your modem. You may want to purchase a longer ethernet cable if necessary for your home setup.
Questions or tuition assistance requests? Please email us.