As COVID-19 continues to spread, high schools and colleges around the world are closing, and students are staying home. Quarantining can feel isolating, but stories like these have the power to change that.
Today’s blog is written by Morgan Mieger, a high school junior in High Ridge, Missouri.
Think about this: have you ever been on a video call with a friend and tried to sing a song together? Someone’s alway behind, or getting ahead of you, right? Now imagine a band or choir class of 50+ people all trying to play or sing at the same time. It’s basically a recipe for disaster! As a musically inclined student, I try to fit as many music classes in my schedule as possible. This year, I’m in both the top band and choir at my school, so I’m expected to play and sing at a high level no matter the circumstances. And our current pandemic situation is no exception!
During this coronavirus outbreak, my school is fully online. My classmates and I rely on our teachers posting daily assignments to continue our learning outside of school, and we wondered how these music classes would work. Fifty students all trying to play at the same time with differing internet speeds, devices, and locations…I didn’t think it was possible! However, I underestimated the power of our district’s motto: Respectful, Responsible, Resilient, and Ready. We call them the four R’s, and in order to pull off online band and choir classes despite all of those challenges, we needed to use all four.
Making these classes happen successfully took a lot of experimentation and collaboration. All of us had to communicate what was happening on our side of the screen. For some it all sounded jumbled together, for others everyone was ahead, and for others everyone was behind. Finally my band director had a light bulb moment: we had to only focus on our director while listening to everyone else! Hearing everyone’s audio on top of our own made it extremely difficult to work together. For someone who hasn’t played or sang in an ensemble, that might sound like an easy task, but we are taught to listen to each other so we can blend, be in tune, and most importantly stay together. This new process of focusing only on our director took some adjusting, but in the end it made for a great learning experience. We made it work, and my band director confirmed that we were all in time and most importantly sounded good!
The patience, innovation, and determination required to make an online music class happen can be applied to this entire quarantine experience. Students and teachers alike have to adapt to a new style of learning and teaching. For every class this looks a little bit different, but I am so happy that I have gotten the opportunity and ability to learn to adapt to new and constantly changing environments.
P.S., To watch one of my performances with my high school’s jazz band, check out the video below!