How can we recreate the learning, community building, and excitement of ensemble music making in an online environment?

That’s the question we’ve set out to answer with the Online Music Ensemble Research project at Carleton University (OMER). Musicians everywhere are seeking new ways to make music together under COVID-19 physical distancing. University music students are critically affected because ensemble music pedagogy develops core skills: listening, timing, blend, expressiveness, and teamwork. An effective methodology for online ensembles and ear training is urgently needed.

Screenshot of the OMER choral ensemble on Zoom

Read about OMER on the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) website.

At Carleton University, the OMER team has developed, tested, and assessed a robust networked ensemble music methodology that includes networked music performance (making music together on-line in real time from separate physical locations), recording in asynchronous technologies such as online digital audio workstations, and innovative teaching and learning strategies, including improvisation.

In summer 2020, we formed a lab ensemble of Carleton music students and instructors working in real-world conditions with a variety of living situations, internet connections, and experience with audio technologies. We tested ideas for Choir, Jazz Ensemble, and a Rhythm Class. During fall 2020 we will track the experience of Carleton Music Students in these online courses.

Screenshot of the BandLab recording software

Coming Soon:

Tool Kit with technical and pedagogical strategies for Online Choir, Jazz Ensemble, and Rhythm Class

Research Team:

Ellen Waterman (Principle Investigator), Kathy Armstrong, John Higney, Paul Jasen, James McGowan, and John Rosefield. Graduate research assistant: Parker Nichols

OMER Lab Ensemble (summer 2020):

Kathy Armstrong (Instructor, Applied Rhythmic Training), Ed Lister (Instructor, Jazz Ensemble), Antonio Llaca (Instructor, Choir), Kat Armstrong, Rebecca Cowal, Nick Jodouin-Lund, Graham McElligott, Michael Mopas, Liam Nesbit, Maryn Pegan, Dan Robidoux, Sam Robinson, Jennie Seaborn, Zac Sedlar, Rebecca White,

OMER is funded by a Carleton University COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Grant with generous support from the School for Studies in Art and Culture and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Here’s an experiment by the Carleton University Online Music Ensemble Research project (OMER). Our student lab ensemble jams together in real time via SoundJack on the jazz standard Georgia. SoundJack. August 14, 2020. Latency was in the range of 60-70 milliseconds, and all musicians were in different physical locations on (wired) home internet. This was the third of three lab ensemble jazz rehearsals in summer 2020 designed to test technologies and methodologies for online ensemble rehearsal.