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Virtual HU FAQs

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Registration and Pricing

How do I register for Virtual Harmony University (VHU)?

You can register for Virtual Harmony University (VHU) 2021 by going to our Event Registration Page. Once you are there you will be able to select the ticket you wish to register for by scrolling through the page.

Once you select a ticket, you will then fill in your registration form. Please read this form carefully. If your information changes after you register, just let us know at harmonyu@barbershop.org and we can update your registration form.

I registered for VHU, but I need to enroll in courses. How do I do that?

You can utilize the scheduling platform called SCHED in early May. You may change your selections as many times as you wish, but remember that some seminars and electives have limited enrollment. Once it reaches capacity, you can still sign up but will be put on a waitlist.

Please note: You must register through our Registration page before you’re able to select courses for VHU.

How to use Sched

What is SCHED?

SCHED is a conference scheduling platform that will allow you to see all of the courses for VHU and select which sessions you would like to sign up for. If you have joined us for HU Belmont in the last few years, you have used this same program. In early May we will publish the SCHED site and you will be sent an invitation automatically, based on your Eventbrite registration.

You will be able to search for classes by type or by day and easily sign up to attend a session, based on your registration permissions. Once you have added the session to your schedule you will be able to go to that course’s page and join the live zoom session directly from SCHED, or watch the recording of a session that has finished.

How do I enroll in a class?

Once you have found a course you would like to enroll in, there are two ways to add it to your schedule:

1. From the main schedule listing, you can click on the white circle next to the name to add the course. A black and white checkmark will appear to show that you have successfully added the course.

2. You can also add a course if you click on the title of the course. Once on the course page, you can click on the white circle next to the course title. A black and white checkmark shows you have successfully enrolled in the course.

Once I enroll in classes, how do I see my full schedule?

To see your full schedule, click on your picture located at the top of the schedule on any page.

Once you are on your profile page, you will see your profile information and then “My Schedule” below your photo. All the courses listed below are those that you have added to your schedule.

How do I print my schedule?

To print your full schedule, click on your picture located at the top of the schedule on any page.

Once you are on your profile page, you will see your profile information and then “My Schedule” below your photo. To the right of “My Schedule”, you will see a “Print” button. Click on “print” to see a printable PDF version of the classes you have enrolled in.

Can I drop an enrolled class for something different?

Yes. We leave classes open to add and drop even after VHU has started. Please make sure that you do drop a class if you are not planning to attend. The classes can fill up, so we want to make sure a spot in the course opens up if you are no longer planning to attend.

To drop a class, click on your picture at the top of the schedule on any page.

Once you are on your profile page, you can click the check on any class. When the checkmark goes away you have dropped the class. Refresh the webpage and the class will be removed from your schedule.

Why am I stopped from adding some classes to my schedule?

Some classes are restricted based on your type of registration. If you only registered for Electives Only, for example, you would be prevented from adding a Seminar to your schedule. If you have any questions or concerns about access to a specific class, please reach out to us at harmonyu@barbershop.org.

Participation and Learning

What will we do everyday?

Will I need to download any software or apps to attend the Conference?

We will be using Zoom for our live classes, which you can download here.

Other than that, our content will all be online. Sched, our conference platform, is a web-based program, meaning you don’t have to have any special equipment to participate. All sessions will be recorded and posted to the VHU Sched Event, where you will be able to view them at your leisure, from the next day until September 1st, 2020

What technology hardware will I need in order to get the most out of this experience?

To get the best experience out of the Conference, you should have a device with access to the internet and speakers or headphones to hear. To make the most of our networking opportunities, access to a webcam and a microphone is recommended. These can be done on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or even on a smart-phone.

Will I be able to view sessions after they’ve occurred?

Yes! Each session will be recorded and posted for each course. After a course has aired live a recording of that session will be added to the class page in Sched. Delayed viewing will be available for viewing until September 1st. Posting times may vary based on volume but in general expect the recording to be available 24 hours after the class has finished.

What should I know about seminars?

For 2021, VHU has six seminars: Applied Vocal Instruction, Arrangers, Directors, Leadership, Music Educator, and Performance. These seminars comprise 12 hours of instruction occurring every other day, either Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday at their designated times. Seminars contain a combination of lecture, workshops, hands on lab or breakout sessions, questions, learning, and fun. Seminars are led by industry professionals and will be some of the most valuable information in VHU 2021.

What should I know about the Virtual Choir?

For 2021, the Virtual Choir will be under the direction of Alexander Morris and feature wonderful section leaders to sing David Wright’s arrangement of “ABC”.

We will have rehearsals and social time for the Virtual Choir on Saturday July 17 and Sunday July 18 with the video submissions coming later in July. There will also be special elective style classes available to the VC members on recording for a virtual choir.


You do not need to submit a video to the Virtual Choir performance to participate in the rehearsals and electives, but we strongly encourage you to participate!

What should I know about elective courses?

For 2021, VHU has several elective types: general electives, workshops, panel discussions, reading sessions, and labs. Each has a different level of participation and faculty engagement, but all are designed to enrich the learner.

All general electives are stand-alone classes that are 50-minutes long. By design, electives are content-driven instruction, meaning the delivery of the content comprises the bulk of the class time. There will always be room for questions and, depending on the faculty member, experimentation.

Workshops are 50- or 110-minute sessions that have less content to share than a general elective class, but is quite a bit more experiential.

Panel Discussions are 50- or 110-minute sessions that are audience-focused. A moderator facilitates a discussion based on questions received from the audience with the gathered experts.

Reading Sessions are 50- or 110-minute sessions that are focused on an experience singing through music of a genre, theme, or arranger. It is a highly participatory experience.

Labs are 50- or 110-minute sessions that are meant to be hands-on time with an instructor that often use a flipped classroom-style of instruction in which students prepare for the session ahead of time and then explore it with the instructors.

Are private lessons available?

Private lessons are not available during VHU.

Are Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) available?

Students that are interested in receiving graduate college credit or continuing education units/clock hours, we have them available through Adams State University.

What should I expect from the quartet coaching?

Your quartet coaching will be a live session with three world-renowned barbershop coaches. These sessions will take place on Saturday July 24, 31, and August 7 from 11:00 am–1:00 pm CDT. You will receive a session from a coach in each of the three BHS coaching categories: Performance, Music, and Singing. The intent is for all quartet members to be together with your coach viewing and working with your quartet remotely.

Sometime mid-May, VHU will send your quartet an email and solicit your requests for coaches. As there are many quartets and limited selections of coaches, we will seek to be equitable, but note that you may not get your first pick. At this same time, we will invite you to send a recording of your quartet either from a recent contest, show, public performance, or just something captured in your living room. This will help us in determining the best coach for you and it will give your coach a reference for their instruction.

In early July, VHU will invite you to a pre-coaching session with a technical expert to ensure 1) that you feel comfortable with the process, 2) check on your microphone and video set up, and 3) troubleshoot and potential problems.

Your session will be recorded for your use after the coaching session has ended.


What to expect

I am completely new to the Barbershop Harmony Society or the art form of barbershop. What should I know?

Octaves

Vocal range and octave choice matter in barbershop. We do have a cultural request that singers not sing anything up or down an octave of the arrangement because of the way chords stack. Warm-ups don’t count.

Sheet music

Barbershop publishers use the familiar voicings of TTBB, SATB or SSAA on the cover. However, once you open to the sheet music, all three voicings are converted to TLBB: barbershop Tenor, Lead, Baritone and Bass. Again, the octave matters.

TTBB Barbershop: the vocal tenor clef is used in TTBB arrangements. This indicates that the parts in the treble clef are sung an octave lower. Note the subscript 8 at its bottom.

SSAA Barbershop: the octave bass clef is used in SSAA arrangements, which may not be as familiar but is the correct notation. This indicates that the parts in the bass clef are sung an octave higher. Note the superscript 8 at its top.

SATB (mixed) Barbershop: is notated with a traditional treble and bass clef, and does not use the vocal tenor or octave bass clef found in most barbershop arrangements.

As barbershop notation is only in two staves, all note stems for your part go the same direction. Tenor and baritone have note stems that always go up; lead and bass have note stems that always go down.

Gender

Students are welcome regardless of gender. One need only consider the vocal range. Many charts might be too low for some to sing the bass/baritone part; sing whichever part feels comfortable.

Freely Interpreted Rhythm/Tempo

Songs with moderate or fast tempi are typically performed as written. However, most slow barbershop songs and introductions are sung freely in a rubato or speech-like style. Barbershop performers often slow down at cadence points to emphasize special harmonies, with the last few chords significantly longer than notated.

Vocabulary

Barbershoppers are very much like any music style with their own words and expressions that may seem odd at first. Here are a few that you will encounter:

Tenor: Tenor is the highest part, harmonizing above the Lead. Notated in the top stave, Tenor stems always point up. Tenor singers should have a light, lyric vocal quality. Male tenors usually sing this part in falsetto.

Lead: Lead is the second highest part, singing the melody. Notated in the top stave, Lead stems always point down. Lead singers should be prominent and have a dramatic and compelling vocal quality.

Baritone: Baritone sings above and below the Lead. Notated in the bottom stave, Baritone stems always point up. Baritone singers should have a lyric vocal quality. Because the Baritone is constantly filling in different parts of a chord, the unusual voice leading can be very challenging, especially to the novice barbershop Baritone.

Bass: Bass is the lowest part, singing foundational notes. Notated in the bottom stave, Bass stems always point down. The Bass part should be as prominent as the Lead, with a big, robust vocal quality.

Tag: a tag is music that is added to the end of the song, often introducing new harmonic progressions, similar to an amen. Tags are very popular in barbershop culture as standalone musical excerpts. Because they are often taught without using sheet music, tags are a wonderful way to introduce new singers to barbershop chords in just a few minutes by ear, rather than learning an entire song.

Hanger/Post: One of the voice parts holds one long note on a single vowel of a word, while

the other voice parts change chords and words around the singer, and can be as long as 30 seconds. Ask to learn the tag “Behind” from someone at HU.

Swipe: A glissando (slide) from one note to another.

What can I expect as the general culture of HU or barbershop in general?

We are proudly and unashamedly a G-rated, family show. We even have a code of ethics for our members that have general expectations on the back of our membership cards. Here are a few:

  • We shall accept for membership only congenial persons of good character.
  • We shall exhibit a spirit of good fellowship toward all members.
  • We shall not permit the introduction of political, religious, or other similar controversial issues.
  • We endeavor to spread the spirit of harmony throughout the world.

We ask the same of you: to be nice, encouraging, and not introduce bad energy or language to our classrooms, our meals, our dorms, and our campus. We are a caring group of people and we are glad you are coming to learn with us.

Why is some of the music repertoire I encounter at HU religious, gendered, or patriotic?

This is a challenge for all people involved with selecting music repertoire for any group, especially with our tradition of barbershop polecats (written in the 1890s), general session songs, tags, and the music presented by quartets and choruses. If you have a concern around music repertoire, please reach out to us: we will listen to your concerns: HarmonyU@Barbershop.org.