Cougars Trapped in the Den
Submitted by: Janice Swoope
School: Reid Ross Classical School
I am an orchestra director at Reid Ross Classical School. I teach grades 6-12. Who would know that after our performance at MPA that would be the last time we would see one another face to face and perform together? I wondered, “Now what?”
My very first meeting my students said, “We want to play as a class. We’re going miss our spring concert.” I could see and hear their disappointment. Now it was my job to create activites to get them excited about music and attend my virtual classes. I had to take technology to another level.
I created “how to” and practice videos for my students; I created a practice playlist with websites of popular songs to help with note reading and technique; I created interactive google slides for rhythm math, composers, music escape rooms; I have taken advatange of many free music platforms.
Now I am at week five and my students look so sad and depressed. I am tapping into their creative side by having them create cellphone rings, podcasts, radio shows. For our last few weeks I have planned a music scavenger hunt and music olympics. I told my students “Online technology is nice, Kahoot is nice, but they do not replace our live rehearsals.”
I miss the laughter, the incorrect notes and posture and the times you do not want to focus. Oh how much I would love to go back to the way we use to be.
“Why And What I Miss About Having Live Rehearsals”
Student #1 (A.M.)
“Live rehearsals allow for one-on-one correction time with your director. Also, in a live rehearsal you are able to blend with others around you, and because of a sound delay in certain devices, it has become difficult to play with fellow classmates at the same time. While it does provide you with independent growth and studying, this new technology approach removes the beauty of working with others. Without a doubt, I miss the live interaction of our music rehearsals because music is my life and part of the reason I love it so much is the many people you get to meet and the relationships you build with those around you. Not being in a live rehearsal limits what we are able to accomplish.”
Student #2 (C.I.)
“I miss absolutely everything about rehearsals but the thing i miss the most about rehearsals is the sounds. I miss hearing all of the different instruments and the way the sounds make me feel. It feels like a piece of me is missing. Soon though I hope we can get back to the regular swing of things because I really miss the sounds😭. This is a little ironic because i was just thinking about this yesterday.”
Student #3 (Z.A.)
“Why I miss live rehearsals is because it gave me the experience of not only learning new songs, but fixing my mistakes. I feel that I could be better at playing my instrument with live rehearsal because it gives me a type of intimacy with my music. Someday I want to be a professional violinist but I don’t think I can accomplish that dream without a live rehearsal.”