ePiano In Action:

Choir rehearsal in the car? by Kathy Maskell, Artistic Director, Musicworks, Tewksbury, MA

I have been using the ePiano to make accompaniment CD's for church and school choir directors to use as rehearsal aids. Taking it to another level I decided to make individual rehearsal cd's for choir members to listen to as they drive to work.

The basic procedure is to first record the piano accompaniment using MIDI for the soprano part, then copy that exact same accompaniment into new files created for the remaining parts; Alto, Tenor, and Bass. Then, I record each part's respective melody on top of the accompaniment and save as a MIDI file - and then use iTunes convert the MIDI file directly to audio CD (a cool, little-known feature of iTunes). Simple and effective! Here's how I do it:

Launching Cakewalk Home Studio from the ePiano's Create Menu, I recorded the piano accompaniment for Angels We Have Heard on High using the EPIANO template in Cakewalk to make a quick MIDI recording of the accompaniment directly from what I played on the ePiano keyboard (using templates makes it easier than starting from scratch).

After recording, I used the Edit/COPY function and copied the accompaniment part I just played so I could paste it into the new files I was about to create.

Still in Cakewalk, I created the 3 new song files (Cakewalk can have multiple files/songs open at once). I saved these files labeled alto, tenor and bass, and I would use my original file for the soprano part . For the original file, now the soprano part, I recorded on a new track playing only the soprano vocal line using a flute sound. Flute was also used for the alto track. For the tenor and bass I used a cello sound. Both flute and cello seemed an appropriate complement to the acoustic grand. Using the panning features enabled me to create a better balance of sound between the left side and right side so that choir members could hear their part without being overpowered by the piano part.

The next step involved using iTunes which allows you to import the MIDI files, then create a playlist of the MIDI files I want to have on CD. iTunes converts them to audio files and gives you the power to create well thought out and organized CD's. My techie-hip choir members also have the option to put the songs into their iPod or other MP3 player.

The choir members are now well-rehearsed for their Christmas presentation.