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College snapshots

A virtual recording studio

Virtually together: music teacher Mirko Guerrini and Year 12 student Stephen Walley recording the first movement of Guy Lacour’s ‘Suite en Duo’

We live in a digital era, and music lessons online was already a reality before the pandemic; what was unusual about our online instrumental music program at the Glen Waverley Campus, however, was that a critical part of the instrumental music lesson – the physical presence of the sound – was missing. In music, two components – rhythm and timbre – are essential, and a good music teacher should spend considerable time with students to consolidate and improve them. Two of the best ways to teach rhythm and timbre are to play alongside one another, but in the online environment, that becomes very difficult.

Teachers had to revise their strategies to find engaging and effective methodologies, now and for the future. Glen Waverley saxophone teacher Mirko Guerrini created a virtual recording studio. ‘The romantic idea of recording by correspondence – similar to chess players once playing by mail – led me to produce multitrack recordings with single tracks recorded at home at different times,’ he said.

One of many examples of this process is the virtual recording of the first movement of Guy Lacour’s ‘Suite en Duo,’ performed by Stephen Walley and Mirko. Mirko recorded himself playing his part along with a metronome, then sent the track to the student, to record a track themselves using Mirko’s recording as a backing. ‘The students can easily record at home, using free software like Audacity or GarageBand. I can then mount the two tracks together and produce an accurate simulation of the piece.’

That meant Mirko was able to listen to the student’s performance multiple times, providing significantly detailed feedback. Another positive aspect is that students’ parents have been able to see and follow the lessons, understand their children’s needs, and provide help and support to make their children’s music practice more productive.

You can listen to the virtual recording of the first movement of Guy Lacour’s ‘Suite en Duo,’ performed by Stephen Walley and Mirko, here.

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