Schools throughout the U.S have been facing many challenges amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. The virus has forced many people to adopt new ways to go about their day to day lives and the same goes for the school environment. Despite the challenges, teachers and students have worked through many of the challenges brought upon them to still try to maintain a classroom environment, even from home.
The music department has had to make drastic changes in terms of learning online and learning in the classroom. Students are no longer able to come into their classes and start playing their instruments or working on their pieces without taking the necessary safety precautions first.
Band teacher Jeffrey Ventres has taken significant safety precautions in his classes to ensure that students are still able to play with one another in a safe and cautious manner.
“The most difficult thing is not seeing all of the band in person. The band is a community that thrives
off of interacting with one another. The challenge of both every other day and hybrid makes it difficult
to establish the same connections that were so easily established previously,” Ventres said.
Many students in the band have addressed this as being the greatest disadvantage to hybrid and online learning. Senior Mercy Adekola had many doubts at the start of the year of how exactly band classes were going to play out, and if students would even get an opportunity to play.
“I originally questioned if we would even get the chance to play at all, but once that obstacle was overcome through hole-ed masks, extra distance while playing, and instrument bell covers, that was no longer a worry,” Adekola said.
The orchestra does require students to wear masks and be socially distant, however as their instruments do not require any air flow or mouth contact, students were able to adapt to the new learning environment much easier than the other music classes like band and choir.
“The most difficult part of this year has been not being together. One of the reasons that people enjoy being in the music department is because of the friendships you develop through making music together. We also miss the sound of having 40+ people in one room, all playing in harmony,” Orchestra teacher Shannon Webster said.
Despite the challenges, the music department has been able to adapt to these new circumstances. Although there will be no music concerts or performances this year as of right now, Band Director Chair Leslie Imse has put together many innovative performances for her choir students to participate in. The choir performed a series of outdoor concerts at the Farmington Public Library for senior citizens and other members of the community, as well as two concerts at Town Hall’s Veteran Memorial for the town employees.
“These performances create novel ways for students to perform in the community. It’s exciting how meaningful this new work is. Recently students created holiday carol sing-a-longs for family engagement across the district,” Imse said.
The music department has overcome many of the challenges presented to them, both online and in the classroom, and the teachers in the music department have worked around these obstacles to ensure their students are still able to do their work or play music to the best of their abilities given the circumstances.