The Virtual Open Mic started simply enough as a way for musicians to connect with each other beyond the act of posting messages on a message board. We shared a passionate connection, acoustic guitars and acoustic-based music. Some of us just left messages in the forum at Harmony Central Acoustic Guitars, but some of us started posting links to mp3s and videos of ourselves playing.
While a few of us performed in public, more than a few of us had a desire to perform in public but couldn't find the right place. Were we in the same neighborhood, we would get together and play songs for each other. Were we in the same town, we would support each other locally at gigs and open mics. How do you do that when one lives in Dallas and another in Vancouver?
It is one thing to recount the history of something. It is another thing to see it for yourself. Witness the original spark that lead to the first Virtual Open Mic. In it, Stackabones wrote ...
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January 27, 2008 Just an idea ... brainstorming ...
What if we had an open mic here at HCAG?
Ok ... wait ... lemmee continue ...
With all the technology these days (computer studios, field recorders, youtube videographers), we could at some point in time have something like a virtual open mic.
Here's what I envision ... it sounds grand when I say "envision" ...
HCAGers (or any HC forumite) would post a tune via youtube, mp3, Soundclick or whatever that was performed in one take ... just like it would be performed at an open mic. The honor system would play a role of course ... we'd have to promise that it was one take and we didn't fancy it up with overdubs and so forth.
Could be a once a month thing, or seasonal, or never ...
As I mentioned, just an idea ..."
It developed from there. The idea of the one-take became a guiding principle of the Virtual Open Mic, but not a hardbound rule. It captured the spirit of VOM. And, almost as if to keep our egos in check, brahmz118 coined the acronym VOM1T (Virtual Open Mic 1-Take), which spread among VOMers like a virulent strain of influenza.
To actually read the initial brainstorming (and historic!) VOM thread, click here.
How to Participate
If you are coming to this archive site as a non-member of Harmony Central's Acoustic Guitar forum, It's not so apparent as to how to get involved. We hope to clarify that now.
First and foremost, The Virtual Open Microphone (VOM) is open to all Musicians. It just so happens that the VOM originates from the Acoustic Guitar forum at Harmony Central and it's members, so consequently that is where the VOM is based. It takes place on the second Sunday of every month from midnight to midnight.
If you wish to participate, here's what you do.
1) If you are not currently a member of Harmony Central, get on over there and register. You can get to their registration page here. Once you get through their registration process, you're ready to participate. Don't sweat the registration, it's free, and painless. They don't SPAM you or anything nasty like that.
2) Make your recording and upload it to the web space of your choice. Our participants use a variety of public upload services such as YouTube, SoundClick, BoxNet, and PhotoBucket just to name a few. Starting in August of 2009 registered participants of the VOM Archive site may now use our embedded hosting service. It is available once you log in. There are bunches of these services out there, perhaps you're already on one.
3) Once the VOM starts, the second Sunday of each month, make your way to the Acoustic guitar forum at Harmony Central. The event will be announced in a reminder thread 7 days before the event. Alternatively, you can keep an eye on this archive site. Way up top there you see the next VOM schedule date. When the pre-discussion thread starts, there will be a link to it shown right there. Same is true when the event starts, the thread link will be displayed in the same place.
4) To get in on the action you need but only reply to the VOM thread and post a link address to your recording, the title of the song, any song credits, and whatever commentary you wish to include. That's all there is to it, your submission will archived along with the other performers.
5) After you have played in your first VOM, you can also register here at the archive site where additional participant services are available, as well as event notification emails.
VOM rules and guidelines
Our Master of Ceremony, Stackabones posts the rules at the beginning of each VOM thread. Taken from his posting, they read as follows:
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1. One tune per forumite. 2. "One-take" (VOM1T) preferable, but not mandatory. 3. Mp3, vids, etc posted in here or linked. 4. Submission should have been recorded since last VOM. 5. Collaborations among forumites won't violate guideline #1. 6. VOM starts at just after midnight (12:00am CST) on Second Sunday and ends just before midnight on Second Sunday (11:59pm CST) 7. If download takes 24hrs or more, just post saying that you're waiting for dl. 8. Please include song title and songwriter. 9. These are just guidelines. No reason to be all militant about them!