Welcome! If you're here, it's probably because you've signed up for a licensed subscription with Upbeat. This guide will help you get started quickly and effectively.
Here are some of the most important things to consider before you get started:
It is important to follow each step in the first section of the troubleshooting guide, particularly for Chromebook users. Following these guidelines will ensure that you get the best possible performance out of your device.
Make sure all participants understand how Upbeat works and what all its features are by performing a live demonstration. If possible, get a colleague, group member, or student who is familiar with the application to help you with the demo.
Start in Zoom or another video conferencing platform, share your screen to an Upbeat Music App window, and walk your group through the process of using the app. Create a room, set it up, give a virtual tour of the app’s features, record a short video, download it, and submit it (to Schoology, Google Classroom, etc) if applicable.
Members may be eager to just get going, but it’s important you provide them with the tools necessary to push through the technical learning curve of their first few recording attempts.
If you have a lot of students, using school email accounts will be helpful with all aspects of organization with Upbeat Music App. When you get your school’s license keys, being able to connect which key goes to which student via their school email account will help manage their accounts, and help connect projects to their Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, and more platforms.
There are several ways to do this. Consider having participants record and submit a video themselves doing a "Set Up" that you can watch it back to provide feedback. You could also have everyone complete a setup edpuzzle such as this one, which may help them understand how the calibration works.
You can also limit the size of groups as much as possible, and have them record something where they just clap 8 times. There is no quicker way to determine if your calibration is correct than seeing a single clapping sound wave.
Teach participants to create rooms. Consider creating a Google Sheet, such as this one, with all the information (groups, room ID) to help organize all the information that your members need.
Let room leaders edit this document to input their room IDs for the rest of their room. This also allows you to jump from room to room as needed. Finally, have leaders notify you when everyone is in the Upbeat room.
The instrument provides a barrier that may get in the way of a successful first recording project. The magic of this application lies in the first time a recording lines up, and this can be achieved with a very short counting exercise, such as "one and two and three and four and", or even just counting quarter notes. To get a precise recording right away, use claps.
With any application using a camera in a school setting, issues of privacy can come into play. Note that as a function of Upbeat when you record, the camera automatically turns itself on even if their video is off in the Upbeat room. Make sure everyone knows about this. If participants have privacy concerns with their camera being on for recordings, you can work around this by placing a sticky note or paper over the computer’s camera.
Upbeat can function as a rehearsal space, where participants can mute everyone else and designate one player as leaders.
When using the app with a new group for the first time, make sure they know each other’s names — the icons do not show the student names in Upbeat. Standard chamber music rehearsal strategies can still apply.
This includes holding discussions on how to address each other in such a setting, how to give feedback in a professional way, and how to achieve a final musical product all can be happy with. The new layer, of course, is being patient and kind while troubleshooting any technical difficulties that come up.
New users might have trouble with uploading their recordings, slow internet, finding quiet practice space, etc. Have everyone focus on the music and aiming for a product they can be proud of. That said, if they are recording smaller projects, have them limit themselves to 2 or 3 attempts any time they go into the recording room.
This will keep the pace of the rehearsal going. If participants perfected their part, that won’t be fixed by just recording several times. They will need to practice! During rehearsals, targeting musical elements such as subdivision, intonation, and rhythm will inevitably make recordings better and more rewarding.
When divided into several groups, your participants may not be in direct contact with you if you are helping another room rehearse.
Consider having a Remind.com or similar text chain with your class to communicate and troubleshoot as needed. If that doesn’t work, perhaps a FAQ page or shared Google doc would be helpful.
The days of having a nice auditorium with a shell and forgiving reverb are gone, at least temporarily. Recording in Upbeat Music App will expose any rhythmic inconsistencies and intonation issues that may previously have been hidden.
Members who have these struggles will need to reach a certain level of proficiency with the music in order for the app to work well. This might mean doing more rhythmic warmups than usual, or tuning to drones in rehearsal. I would heavily encourage anyone making recordings for a concert on Upbeat to use grade level literature that is one or two steps below the level of the musicians’ skill set, at least for the first performance. By doing this, you can establish the precedent that quality will take time and dedication to detail. There should be no shame in the first “performances” from Upbeat Music App being only 30 seconds, 1 minute, or 2 minutes long.
If you have not made a recording with Upbeat that you are proud of, it will be hard for you to appreciate the value of the tool for education and rehearsal. There is truly no other tool out there that allows you to create an "in the moment" recording that provides instant satisfaction for a group of people. Once you get this feeling, you won’t turn back!
We hope you find this guide useful! Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions.
Thanks to Jonathan Glawe (Pioneer High School) and Amadeus Twu (Michigan State University) for contributing the initial version of this guide.