Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Performing in a Pandemic

Posted 12/11/2020 by Trinity Doublin

Multiple Instruments zoomed in. photo credit to Unsplash

Performing arts students have had to make a very large adjustment since going remote.

Prior to the pandemic, students who were in the music program at TJ were able to host live concerts to show off their skills. Unfortunately, most schools are remote, making it harder for students to sing and perform with their instruments. Students have had to adapt and change the way they practice their music during this time. 

Band students have had to make some of the biggest changes during remote learning. No longer could they perform in front of students at prep rallies or football games. Also, they haven’t been able to perform as a group. However, band teacher Robin Morrissey has come up with unique assignments to keep the students engaged and allow them to have fun. Though it is very different from in-person instruction, students have shown great resilience and have continued to make strides even in remote learning. Some strides these students have made in remote learning is being able to pay attention on a computer and still get to where they need to be. Another stride is learning how to be more proficient in note taking and keeping one’s workspace well organized. 

Some assignments that teachers have given for band or choir classes are sight reading sheets, rhythm, and melody practice sheets. With remote learning, it has been difficult to write and share the music band students create with Morrissey. During COVID, every technology-based company is offering free educational subscriptions for students around the world. One of the online applications is GoodNotes. It’s an extension that is built into Google Docs, so music students are able to write their music notes. Some of the features on this extension include being able to hear what notes you’re putting down, which allows for students to hear what they are writing but also helps them take more risks when writing music. Junior Angelina Kong-Mauleon stated, “It’s weird having to do this all online. The practice sheets and stuff are still fun but when it comes to needing help you can’t always rely on the internet to help. You never know when the internet is going to shut down or when your teachers can be available. This whole pandemic is crazy.” 

Students who take choir have also made huge adjustments to how they run their class. They still sing together over Google Meet and Schoology. Freshman Talliyah Calaway commented, “Just the fact that you can’t sing with people anymore and you can’t enjoy music as a whole class anymore is just sad. Something that changed between doing choir online and doing choir in-person was being able to sing in small groups. Now in online learning, we can’t even sing as a whole because then it would be too sketchy and everyone’s internet is different so it would just be a disaster.” 

However, choir teacher Tambyr Reed has done an excellent job of meeting the needs of her students even in remote learning. Freshman Zahraa Al Abbood stated, “I am still happy that students get the opportunity to do choir and have a great teacher like Ms. Reed. Something that changed between doing online and being in person is that not everyone wants to show their face in a Google Meet. It makes the class less fun when you can’t see who you are in class with. Another thing is internet connection. You might be listening, then it just kicks you out [of] the meet. But on the bright side I do hope that there will be more fun lessons to do in the future to keep the joy going.” 

Students are hoping that they can go back to school and be able to perform on a stage and sing with a whole class again soon. In the meantime, students continue to practice their singing over Google Meet.Although the current pandemic has created many challenges for performing arts students, they have shown great resilience and strength. Once in-person concerts are allowed again, there is no doubt that these students will succeed.