Faculty & Students: Zoom Best Practices

The Festival will be using Zoom for all online masterclasses this summer.

In addition to the information and resources provided below, Stephen Roessner, an audio engineer and lecturer at the University of Rochester, will be giving a class on musical audio streaming on Tuesday, June 30 at 1:00 PM EDT. Please join to learn about best practices and ask questions!

internet connection

Ethernet or Wifi: We recommend using a wired internet connection for the best experience. If you are unable to connect your computer to the internet using an Ethernet cable, a strong, stable Wifi connection and/or cellular data may be used. If you are using Wifi, move as close as you can to your router.

Speed: Check the speed and strength of your Wifi at speedtest.net; connections of at least 20 mbps download and 10 mbps upload are best. Upload speeds below 5 mbps will produce poor quality video and audio.

It’s best to close other applications, browser tabs, etc. so that all of your computer resources are concentrated on running Zoom as efficiently as possible. If you are using WiFi, move as close as you can to your router and try to limit the number of additional devices using the network during the class.

joining a zoom meeting

How to join a meeting:

  • Joining a Zoom meeting is free.
  • Click on the Zoom link provided via email (this will likely be in an email from Grace Bell, grace@bowdoinfestival.org).
  • You will be prompted to download and install Zoom. We recommend downloading and using the desktop client. Joining a meeting directly through your browser through Zoom’s web client has limited features and functionality.

Here are some helpful support resources from Zoom:

Zoom Audio

Muting Audio: Please remember to mute yourself while others perform to prevent background noise.

Discussion-Based Class
If you are leading or participating in a discussion-based class, you may leave audio defaults as they are. Zoom is automatically optimized for speaking.

If you are sharing your screen to show a video with audio, you will need to enable that (see screenshot below), and:

  • Mute yourself in Zoom before playing audio OR wear headphones (recommended)
  • Turn up the volume on your computer

Zoom Screen Share Audio

Performance-Based Class
If you are leading or participating in a performance-based class, we recommend adjusting your Zoom audio settings to disable the audio enhancements and preserve the true original sound of the microphone.

  • Click the arrow next to the mute button (after you have joined the meeting)
  • Click “Audio Settings”
  • Uncheck “Automatically adjust volume”
  • Click “Advanced” button
  • Check “Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone”
  • You will now see “Turn off Original Sound” button/toggle in the upper left-hand corner of your meeting window.
  • If you are going back and forth between playing and talking, you will want to toggle “Turn off Original Sound” on and off.
  • Playing –> Original Sound ON
  • Talking –> Original Sound OFF

This 45-second video will walk you through it:


External Microphone

You may be interested in investing in an external microphone, and we would recommend this if you plan to play live for online lessons, classes, etc. Some mics that have been recommended to us include:

  • Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser Microphone
  • Blue Yeti