Music competitions drop as Covid-19 case counts rise

Sofia Kovalenko, Staff Writer

 

Social distancing, remote learning, competition cancellations: as the pandemic brings unexpected challenges, music students and teachers are facing the obstacles head on.

The world of music competitions is one of beauty and splendor. Ranging from jazz festivals to large group festivals, competitions offer multitudes of learning opportunities for students. The competition component has always been a staple part of musical education. However, due to Covid-19, competitions have been cancelled indefinitely.

“A real plus in festivals is the ability to learn from internationally recognized musicians in small clinics, so we were doubly disappointed that we had to miss out on the learning experience,” choir teacher Robin Wood said. 

Even the most advanced online classroom simulations cannot make up for the lack of contact with real-life music heroes. 

“Our Eastshore Large Group festivals are cancelled, so no adjunction from a panel of judges will be possible,” Wood said. 

Another major benefit of music competitions is that they expose students to different opinions and environments. Although teachers can always be counted on for feedback, a wider range of opinions is helpful in expanding a student’s musical horizons. 

Such drastic changes make it easy to lose heart. In fact, Wood expressed her disappointment when she initially learned about the cancellations.

“We are bummed,” Wood said. “In the spring, we were mere hours away from our big jazz festival appearance when that was canceled.”

However, the trademark Liberty resilience has kept teachers from losing heart. These difficulties only spurred them on to dig for creative alternatives to competitions. 

“The music has always been there, waiting for us to master it. The harmonies are still the same, and our voices are still needed to bring them alive,” Wood said.

Through hardships and trying times, Liberty choir’s zeal for music keeps them focused on working hard so they can be prepared for when competitions are reinstated.