August 2020
What's a Chapter to Do? How to Run a Chapter Zoom Meeting
by Greta Haug-Hryciw and Rachel Begley
In this time of social distancing and face mask requirements, do you miss being able to meet in person with your ARS chapter? Are you looking for a way to keep your chapter alive during the pandemic? A solution is to host your chapter meeting online via Zoom. This article will show you how.
How does this work?
Your chapter meeting leader will need a Zoom account ( and will act as the host. It is worth spending the $14.99/month for the "pro" level, which allows you to host up to 100 participants and hold meetings longer than the 40 minute limit you are allowed with the basic (non-subscription) app. Your chapter members don't need an account, only the meeting number and passcode. There are other services available for running video meetings, but Zoom is reliable with good sound and easy to use, so we recommend it (this is not paid product placement).
What can you do on a Zoom call?
All online meetings have lag-time (called “latency”), so you won't be able to hear everyone playing together at the same time. An online duet will be delayed a fraction of a second or more from one part to the other, enough to make it impossible to play together. You CAN hear live playing or a recording and be able to play along with them, something like using a “music minus one” recording. When playing music together on Zoom, everyone is muted except the featured player, usually the leader. You will play your part, but no one else will be able to hear you. It doesn’t work otherwise. One student said, "I like Zoom playing sessions because the other players don't hear my mistakes as I am getting back into recorder playing."
Make it easy, hire a pro! 
For the best experience, consider hiring a Zoom experienced teacher to run the music part of your meeting. These teachers will gently guide you on your journey to online musical bliss. The ARS has a list of teachers who are willing and able to do this: Online Recorder Teachers

Both of the authors of this article, Greta Haug-Hryciw and Rachel Begley, teach online.

If you’d like to experience one of these classes first, to know what such a session is like, you can take one of the many offered by organizations. Click HERE to sign up for our twice-a-month newsletter listing offerings by our teaching and professional members.
Playing It Safe Virtual Session Grant of $250
The ARS recognizes that many of our chapters, consorts, and recorder orchestras are facing a season of virtual meetings. We also understand the considerable amount of work that recorder professionals are putting into creating virtual programs that work for chapter meetings. We want to help you bring one of these creative teachers and virtual sessions to your group by offering your chapter, consort, or recorder orchestra a one-time, first-come, first-served, Playing It Safe Virtual Session Grant of $250 to be paid to the professional you choose to hire. Don’t miss this opportunity to hire a recorder teacher from anywhere in the country to virtually lead your group! For more information and to apply, please click below.
What does a Zoom meeting look like?
  • The host, who could be your chapter president, sends out an invitation to the meeting that asks participants to sign up in advance. This way, the host will know who and how many participants to expect. This will also reduce the likelihood of uninvited guests joining the meeting. 
  • Once participants sign up and pay their fee (if required), the host can send the Zoom meeting ID number and passcode to them. Send a reminder a day or two before meeting with the date and time, repeating the Zoom information.
  • The host sends out the music in PDF form for the participants to print out and have ready in playlist order on their music stand or tablet. 
  • The day of the meeting, the host will admit the players to the meeting, issue a welcome and conduct any chapter business, and then introduce the conductor who directs the playing portion. The conductor will introduce the music being played, just as at an in-person chapter playing session. She/he will count off each piece so you know when to come in. 
  • The conductor ends the meeting after about 60-90 minutes of playing. Learning and playing online can be tiring so it’s best to limit the length of the meeting and keep the material easy to follow. Plan for a meeting no longer than 90 minutes. Allow time for players to log on, discuss chapter business and enjoy a little socializing before playing.You may want to ask your members to log in early so the actual meeting can start on time. 
  • Even with practice, there may be little hiccups which need patience and/or a sense of humor e.g. page turn or playback errors. Here are helpful guidelines for Zoom participation: Click HERE for instructions to optimize your audio settings in Zoom for musical sounds.
How do you pay your conductor and collect fees?
Teaching an online class takes hours of preparation. To set up for class, your teacher may create editions, make recordings, assemble visual materials and use audio editing programs. As a result, the fee for teaching should be higher than for an in-person class. Charging a fee to take part in an online chapter meeting makes sense. You can invite more participants if needed to cover the teaching fee. Your members can use an online payment method like PayPal, Venmo or Zelle. 

Want to run a successful online playing meeting?
We recommend having a co-host, in addition to the host and teacher, for each meeting. The co-host can admit players to the meeting, check the chat, and if necessary help on the technological end of things, like screen-sharing. This is especially important for meetings with more than 20 taking part. This ensures that the meeting can run smoothly with few interruptions. Having a trial run with the co-host(s) before running your first Zoom meeting is important. 
Can you fill your class?
If members aren’t comfortable driving at night, online lessons permit them to join in chapter meetings. For those isolating in another state, meetings are still accessible. If the drive to a meeting location was daunting, online meetings permit everyone to attend. If there is a silver lining to having chapter meetings online, it's that distance is not an issue. Members and invited guests can join from anywhere on the globe.

Want to try it on your own? Click HERE for a link to suggestions for hosting a meeting without hiring a teacher.
You did it!
Once you’ve held an online chapter meeting, you will get more familiar with the process and it will become easier and even fun. It is an exciting way to enjoy playing recorder with members of your chapter and master new skills. Give it a try and let us know how it goes for you.

ARS Board member Greta Haug-Hryciw is a recorder teacher and orchestra conductor/director in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves the connection that the recorder creates between players of all ages. She is a member of four ARS chapters and organizes several annual events for recorder players. During this time of isolation, she presents chapter meetings online and hopes this article inspires others to try it too.
Rachel Begley is a recorder professional based on Long Island, New York. She gained a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in recorder and early music at SUNY Stony Brook. She performs widely on both recorders and historical bassoons. Her teaching studio includes both private students and ensemble classes. She has been Music Director for the Recorder Society of Long Island since 1994. She teaches at ARS chapter meetings and workshops and at early music festivals both in North America and Europe. She says we need our friends and our music-making more than ever.
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