The right music can help to create an excellent online event experience. Achieving the correct balance between your background music and the volume of your instruction is critical in ensuring that you are heard and understood over your soundtrack. 

A lot of the common audio issues with Zoom calls are the result of your background music being picked up by the same microphone that you are speaking into. You can adjust your Zoom settings to prevent this from happening. 

Other factors can also play a part, and there are several things, outlined below, that you can try to improve the quality of your audio.

Zoom settings

The best way to ensure that your microphone doesn’t pick up the music you play is through the settings of your Zoom call. 

You need to ensure that, as much as possible, the music that is shared with your attendees comes through your device rather than the microphone that you are speaking through.

Step 1. Join the call (it's probably best to do this before your attendees arrive if possible). 

Step 2. Click on Share screen. 

(the location of the Share screen button may vary depending on how you access Zoom).

Step 3. Navigate to the Advanced tab.

Step 4. Click Music or computer sound only

Changing this setting will not mute your microphone but, as well as the mic audio, you will also share any sounds (including music) that are playing on your device.

Music player settings

With your Zoom settings adjusted all you need to do is start playing the music you wish to include in your class. This could be via a streaming service (Spotify, Apple music etc.) or directly from a CD or file but it must be played via the device you are using for your Zoom call. 

You can control the volume of your music from whichever app you are playing it from. If you are unfamiliar with the settings you can always play a track as you introduce your event and check that others can hear before getting started with the event proper. If it's too loud, turn it down within the app (not with your device's volume settings or on any stereo/speaker you may be linked up to) -

Once your class is over don't forget to stop the music via your music player app - simply removing your headphones will work for you, but not everyone else on the call!

By the letter of the law you are required to hold the correct licence in order to play music in any public environment, online or not. You should ensure that you have the right to exhibit the music you will use prior to your event (see 'Alternative music sharing methods' below for a method which does not require a licence).

Headphones

If you've shared your device's audio through your Zoom settings, as described above, your microphone doesn't need to hear the music for it to be heard by your attendees. In fact, your audio quality will be improved if the microphone doesn't pick up the music at all. If it's possible for you to connect headphones to your computer (ideally without wires via bluetooth, though wired headphones would work too if it's safe for you to use them) then you can listen to your music using these and ensure that your microphone only has to pick up the sound of your voice.

Other troubleshooting tips

Use an external microphone
An external microphone is preferable if you have access to one. It should be positioned as close to you, the source of the sound, as possible.

Control the volume of the microphone
It should also be possible for you to turn up your microphone via your device settings - meaning that your voice is given higher volume in the sound mix. The method to do this depends on the device that you are using but a quick Google of 'how to increase the volume of mic on your device' should help you find the guidance you need. 

Improve your environment
Ensure that the space you are recording in has as little ambient noise as possible and that there is no echo. Empty rooms with hard surfaces reverberate the most, aim for a room that isn't completely empty and which contains soft surfaces like carpets and rugs. 

Make sure your attendees are muted
This is particularly important if you aren't using headphones - any sounds your attendees make can be picked up by your microphone and played back to all.

Alternative music sharing methods

Another way for your attendees to enjoy music during your event is by sharing your own playlist prior to the event, then getting everyone to push play at the same time when you begin.

Most music streaming services offer a share functionality with various different ways to deliver your playlist -

(Spotify)

So all you need to do is pick the best tracks and point your attendees in the right direction. Bookwhen's 'Booking confirmation message' field is an ideal place to include a link so that it will be shared with bookers once they have booked a ticket.

Advantages

  • As each person is playing their own music you circumvent any licensing issues.
  • Attendees can control the volume of music vs. your instruction to suit their own environment 

Disadvantages

  • Syncing so that everyone is at the same point in the song can be difficult
  • It requires each attendee to have access to the service you are issuing the playlist on. Most streaming services have ad sponsored free versions attendees can join but these ads can throw some attendees out of sync with others. 
  • It might be necessary to create the same playlist on multiple platforms to increase the chances that all attendees are able to access it. 
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