Music classes take on remote learning

Nicole Treece, Editorial Board

If you walked into a Liberty Singers’ bedroom at 2:00 PM on a Thursday, there’s a good chance you’d catch them singing awkwardly at a screen by themself. 

They’re not alone: online classes have impacted everyone, especially the music department. How does a band practice their cues with 20 different instruments while everyone is muted? How does an orchestra make sure they’re all in tune with one another? How do guitar students know if they’re playing the right chord?

The short answer is that they don’t. Most music classes today are very reliant on the individual; instead of singing or playing together, students record a video of their performance, and teachers piece together a full song from individual parts.

However, this new virtual platform poses many struggles. Some examples include the quality of microphones, the accessibility to a quiet atmosphere, and the perfection of each line. 

When it comes to singing through the lines once they’ve been reviewed, we can’t hear each other as a choir. Singers have to unmute and sing one at a time, and even then the mics often cut out,” choir director Robin Wood said.

Although there are challenges, working from home brings its own benefits. Practicing alone builds initiative which will, ultimately, strengthen a musician. 

“My students are all coming away with new skills that are super useful. I think Liberty is going to have a whole bunch of beat makers when this thing is over,” the band director Jared Tanner said. 

Students and their new skills are being put to the test when putting together concerts. These performances make the music halls buzz the day of. Many students look forward to showing what they have learned this semester.  Luckily, Liberty will still be able to hear from the music department, even if it looks different than what we’re used to. 

The three music directors, Jared Tanner, Robin Wood and Jana Dalpez, are already determining how to tackle performances. Most likely, Liberty will be viewing virtual concerts, with clips of each student threaded together to produce a single song. When these videos are finished, students will be able to find them on YouTube or multitrack recordings.

During the many changes of remote learning, whether it’s concerts or classes, one thing will always remain: our love of making music.

“The shared sound; the laughter each day and the sheer shared artistic humanity of it all—I miss it,” Wood said. “But I’m glad to be on this journey in this strange time with these people.”