Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Distant Musicians

chair and desk with two computers

Have you been wondering how they're conducting music classes distantly? Only me? 

Last Tuesday I was called in to cover band (and music appreciation). Last Wednesday I was called in to cover choir (at a different school). 

It turns out that the marching band is actually learning a parade march. I mean, that's what they always do every year, but they generally do that with the expectation that they're going to perform it while marching in various parades. 

Rehearsing distantly with the wonky wifi connection is odd. The drum major did the conducting while everyone else had their cameras and mics off. (I'm sure there's got to be a way that a band can rehearse this way, but the technology apparently doesn't exist yet.) The drum major had various section leaders play their parts, but not together. At least they'll know their individual parts when they can meet in person? 

It was a good thing the drum major was doing the work, because I got kicked out of the meet six times. Yup. Six. At least I was accessing the attendance software via a different computer, or I might have been kicked out of the meet more than that. 

The music appreciation class allegedly watched a video. They turned in the questions before the class was over, so they did something. (They were given the YouTube link for the video, so I didn't have to show it to them.) 

As for the choir, they were to do rehearsals via various websites, and then they were to record themselves via another website. So, unlike the band, their teacher could hear what they were doing. (Although, I assume the band director was having them play individually for him at various times. They had a "test" coming up where they were to have their parts memorized for various sections.) 

It'll be interesting when we get back to in person classes. I wonder if they'll be performance ready. It's a different way to learn their music, to be sure.

18 comments:

  1. I can't begin to fathom how this would work with music. More power to all of you. Note to the virus: go away!! You've messed with us enough.

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    1. They can learn their parts, but they can't really play together. I like the recording option of the choir classes, but that doesn't really work for a band. Perhaps someone will invent something.

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  2. The thought hadn't really crossed my mind but now that you mentioned it, it has to be crazy!

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  3. Most instruments actually seem kind of dangerous these days. You probably shouldn't be blowing air all over the place in the age of COVID.

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  4. My district's one high school is renowned in this area for their music programs. (it's been a strength of theirs for years and years.) Sooooo...today (our New York State county is spiking) our school district announced it is putting hybrid learning on hold starting tomorrow and until November 6. I had already wondered how music programs could work around COVID, given the nature of singing and playing certain instruments - your experiences sound like a nightmare. All I could think of is - how is this ever going to work? Wow.

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    1. It appears that they are practicing, but individually. Which is important. Playing together as a group isn't really happening as they can't hear the rest of the band. It's different, that's for sure.

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  5. Yes, online band rehearsals are not pleasant. When Jeckle was in lockdown the teacher tried to get them to play in sectionals, but with everyone's connectivity differing no-one was playing together. He ended up just checking in each week with them.

    And my band didn't try. Our conductor sent a rehearsal list each week and told us to pretend band was on and so in band time to play. Luckily we've been back for 10 weeks now but socially distanced which looks hilarious and as a player it's weird.

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  6. That’s just really strange but I guess they can learn their own part in the band. I’m not sure how that works. How frustrating to get kicked out 6 times. Let’s hope it will be better the next time.

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    1. I'm sure it was just the amount of students in the class that got me. I haven't had the issue in smaller groups.

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  7. Wow so very interesting!! I had wondered how they would do music classes/band! Challenging but I think it is working a bit!

    betty

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  8. I can't imagine. In band or choir, if the conductor hears something off he can go around and find the erring performer and fix it. Practicing on their own assumes they can hear and fix their own mistakes.

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    1. Exactly. And playing in a group means you're listening so you're in tune and playing in unison with the group. I mean, there has to be a way to do it, but not via the technology we have through the school.

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  9. Must be interesting to sub for a class like that if you are or have never been in band or choir. For me, that would be wild since I have no musical notes in my body anywhere.

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    1. Ah, but I have been in band. From 7th grade through college. So, I understand what they're doing. And when the teacher writes "rehearse M 33 to the end", I know M means measure, and I know that's a location in their music.

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  10. Fascinating! I am awed by how folks have adapted, however sad the reason and some of the results.

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    1. It was fascinating. Definitely not ideal, but they're able to do something.

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  11. Music classes online... not impossible, not easy either.

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