How I Figured Out Zoom
The year of 2020, as we all know, became a year of Zooming: Zoom calls with family and friends, teaching classes on Zoom that previously were taught in person, hosting parties on Zoom, etc.
Well, as a dance instructor, I knew it was important to have both great, audible vocal sound, so students could hear me teaching clearly, and great sound for the music, so that it came through clearly sounding just like it would on your home speakers.
As it turns out, figuring out how to make this great sound happen on Zoom would be harder than I thought.
Searching for The Solution
At first, I started to experiment. Searching online for youtube tutorials about how to have great sound for dance instructors seemed like the right way to go, however, after several attempts, and several hours into researching and experimenting, I was still at base one.
Frustrated, but committed to getting it right, I bought an app for around $100, that one youtuber suggested, that was sure to help solve my sound woes on Zoom. Nope, it didn’t work. Luckily, they gave me my money back!
Then, there was the great Latin dance instructor from N.Y.C., who offered a free tutorial showing his sound set up. For all the in’s and out’s of his set up, I could receive training for just $197 (before buying all the gear) so I opted not to join his program. In retrospect, it probably would have saved me a bunch of time, energy, frustration and money had I just bit the bullet and enrolled in his tutorial! Lesson learned!
Trying Things Out
Then, after ten’s of hours put into this experimentation and research, a lapel mic bought and returned, another mic bought and kept, etc., I surrendered to just speaking with no mic, while teaching on Zoom, and figured out how to get the music sounding good. It wasn’t great, but it worked until…
I was awarded a contract to teach for the Buffalo Public Schools, which I applied for. After receiving this, I knew I had to have the proper set up so that everyone could hear my voice and the music well.
Back to the drawing board, I started researching tools and techniques for proper sound on Zoom again.
I Think I’ve Got The Solution
Ah ha! I found a blog post with all the relevant material, (for free!), and set to work ordering all the supplies needed to get the sound perfect for my instructional dance and fitness classes on Zoom.
After everything arrived and I scrolled through the written tutorial again, I plugged everything in and…nothing happened! The mic wouldn’t even work. “Ohhh nooooo!” I thought, as I assumed having all of this gear, and this awesome tutorial to guide me along, would solve my problem. Why wasn’t it working?
Back and forth I emailed the woman who wrote the blog. She suggested trying a different mixer. I sent the mixer back and ordered a new one. Nope, it still didn’t produce any sound. Maybe the mixer was bad?
Found the Right Support
Then, I went to the Guitar Center store locally, (remember in person shopping?!), and met two store clerks, one being the manager. Once we spoke, I knew he knew what he was talking about. I was sent home with a new cord to try, but still no luck.
Within a couple of days, I went back to Guitar Center, when the manager was working, and asked for his help. Bringing my laptop along with me, all the supplies I’d ordered online and chords I’d had to hook everything up, he said, “OK, the first thing we need to do is check that all the chords work.” Lo and behold, one of the chords was faulty. A new chord was put into the mix, but nothing was working. Then he checked an input at the back of the cordless mic receiver. That input was faulty, so I needed a different chord to connect to a different input in the back of the receiver.
OMG, I would have never thought to check the chords or inputs! I was learning already!
Then, it finally worked! Hallelujah! And, good thing, because I was about to start teaching that new series of classes for the B.P.S. online that evening, so I needed to have good vocal sound and the music had to sound crystal clear!
Still Had to Figure Some Things Out
Ah, I finally had everything set up! “Yes!” I thought. Well, no, it wasn’t quite there yet, nearly one year after starting this process.
There I was live, teaching a class on Zoom to people on both Zoom and Facebook Live and the music sounded distant and echoey, not at all like it would sound on your speaker at home! What was it? I couldn’t believe it! The set up sounded great at Guitar Center earlier that day, when I’d tried it out with the manager. Deflated, I thought, what could it be now?
Picking up the phone the next morning, I called the manager at Guitar Center again and told him my query. He suggested trying to push different buttons on the mixer to see what might happen and voila! With the push of one button, the music sounded great, my voice sounded great and all was a go! Although it still wasn’t completely perfect all the time, I got closer to my original goal: good, clear sound for my voice and the music simultaneously, while I taught on Zoom.
Why am I telling you this story? Because it’s true that everything is figureoutable (mostly!). How do you stay in the game and keep going, even when the task might seem annoyingly impossible?! How do you ask for help, reach out, look up tutorials online, pay for classes, go to your local experts, etc. so you can achieve your goal?
What obstacle have you surmounted this year that you thought you might never figure out?
How did it feel when you finally figured it out?
Appreciative Inquiry: try writing down or telling yourself a story of when you persevered through something. What qualities and values do you pick out in yourself from hearing or reading your own story?
Share your comments below in the comments section! Inspire us with your stories!
Take care and keep going!
Sincerely, with Aloha Nui Loa,