School music programs adapt to virtual learning
February 4, 2021
With schools closed due to the pandemic, students have lost face-to-face experiences that they would normally have in the classroom. In particular, band, orchestra, and choir students have faced challenges due to a lack of in-person resources. In a non-pandemic life, students in the school arts program would be attending school concerts, musical lessons, field trips, rehearsals, and more.
Staring at a screen for five hours for virtual school is a sizable commitment for all students. However, playing an instrument or singing for your school choir can make the collaborative instruction experience even more difficult, if one’s internet is unstable or if not everyone’s Zoom audio is lined up. Although there is no substitute for the physical experience of music class, there are apps and online programs that students and staff have utilized to adapt to the online learning environment.
Senior Bridget McKirgan is part of RM’s marching band and band class, groups that are conducted and taught by Dr. Peter Perry. “[Dr. Perry] has been taking advantage of the virtual platform to get to do some more music theory and ear training oriented things, and I’ve really enjoyed them. I feel like they’re helping to round out our musical capabilities,” McKirgan said.
Planning ahead, students have found ways to prepare for concerts once school returns to normal. “For marching band we’ve put together a few recordings that I thought were really cool, so I have confidence in our future shows!” McKirgan said.
Junior Patrick Kim was in Perry’s class prior to the pandemic. “I played the clarinet in the symphonic band with Dr. Perry; he was a great teacher who helped all the sections perform at their best,” Kim said. “We had a great time in the class and he was always supportive of the students no matter what their skill level was.”