In the Best Light

A photo of Adam Wiencken

Microphones, cameras, and ring lights—can you imagine a year ago that these items could all be important purchases for auditions, classes, and even interviews?

You may find yourself needing to submit video recordings for upcoming music auditions, juries, or playing tests. Consider the following technology add-ons to present yourself in the best possible light.

Quality Microphone

Quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive; in fact, most good microphones for music recordings fall in the $100 to $150 range. The easiest plug-and-play option is a USB cardioid microphone, such as the Blue Yeti, which retails at $129.99. A cardioid microphone has a uniform response to sound coming from the front and minimal sound pickup from the back.

The Blue Yeti is also great for podcasting and interviews; you can change settings at the turn of a knob for multiple applications.

Regardless of what you choose, a quality microphone will perform exponentially better than a built-in microphone through a phone or laptop.

Quality Video Camera

Depending on the type of phone or laptop you use, you might not need to make an external purchase to have a quality camera.  Most of the latest iPhones and MacBooks have great video quality; however, if you want to drop some change on a new GoPro or Nikon/Canon camera, it certainly will serve many useful purposes.

Ring Light

Most of us will not have optimum lighting when recording indoors from home.  Ring lights are especially helpful for recording at night and/or in dark rooms to bring more clarity to you or whatever you want in focus. Position the light where you can see your entire face and find an angle and height that isn’t distracting. Then adjust the camera angle to suit both your needs and the submission requirements.

These few simple considerations will make the audio and video quality of your submissions more professional, and your evaluators will certainly notice.

About author

Adam Wiencken

Adam Wiencken is the percussion specialist for Broken Arrow (Oklahoma) Public Schools and the battery arranger for the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps. He is an alumnus of the Madison Scouts and The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist and an educational artist for Innovative Percussion Inc., Remo drumheads, Zildjian cymbals, and MEINL Percussion.