I will be recording 3rd grade students to create a CD to submit for an application to perform at our state music educators conference. The recording will be done in the music room at my school which is a bit larger than a standard elementary classroom. It is carpeted and has a sloped ceiling with typical ceiling tiles. The walls are cinder block. The piano accompaniment will be played on a Clavinova. I have a parent who has equipment and experience making audio recordings, but not with children’s voices. Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated.
Wow! There’s someone else in the world that has a third grade only choir. I thought I was unique! I haven’t recorded my third graders for auditions. However, I have recorded groups of young children before and found that it was helpful to have the microphone placed high up and relatively far away. Otherwise, what happens is that whoever is close to the microphone completely drowns out all the rest of the kids. It doesn’t sound good regardless of whether or not the singers in front are the ones you want to be heard. I think that it is key to listen to the recording and (if possible) to have them listen to parts of the recording. They often don’t believe you when you tell them that they aren’t [instert mistake here] unless they hear it themselves. My other suggestion is to use your ear and listen to the recording on good speakers and cruddy speakers. Pick recordings that sound good on both, because you don’t know what the auditioner is going to use to listen to your children. On a separate note, if there are any songs that you and your kids have enjoyed and felt success doing, I’d love to swap with you. It is an exciting (but very real) challenge to find pieces that suit this age group.