Music lessons amidst a pandemic

By Magdalena Chavez

Elm Staff Writer

Classes are looking different nowadays, and the classes with the Music Department are no exception. Without the ability to meet in person for music ensembles and private music lessons, other strategies to further learning are being found.

Sophomore Faithlin Hunter, a math and music double major, is taking private violin lessons, class piano, and is part of the chamber orchestra ensemble.

Hunter said that class piano is somewhat like normal, with students studying their books and learning the notes and handshapes required to begin learning to play.

The professor has two cameras set up, one to catch her giving instructions and corrections, and another focused on her hands so that students can see proper technique.

“The chamber orchestra has made a few more adjustments,” said Hunter.

One of these adjustments that the students are responsible for learning their part mostly on their own. They record themselves with the help of a metronome to keep steady time, and then the audio files from each student will be edited together to create a complete piece.

Senior Danny Palmatary, music major, takes private guitar lessons, composition lessons, and lessons on Ableton, an electronic music making software.

For their guitar lessons, both Palmatary and their professor use high quality microphones to preserve as much of the sound quality virtually as possible.

According to Palmatary it is “odd not being in the same room as the person you are learning from,” and that they and their professor are accustomed to frequently playing together, which they cannot do at the present.

Zoom and other digital platforms have a delay between the reception and transmission of sound, making it difficult for musicians to play together virtually.

Senior Sarah Bowden, a member of symphonic band, said that the band is operating similarly. They too are recording themselves singularly then being edited together.

Bowdena percussionist, said she arranged for her instruments to be brought to her house so she can continue to play.

The band also meets synchronously and plays together, although they are each on mute and can only hear themselves.

“While it’s not what I’m used to, it is still nice to have a band,” Bowden said.

Students and professors have found ways to continue making music together despite the distance between them. It looks and sounds a bit different, but it is still music and it is still a vital and important part of everyone’s lives.

Photo Courtesy of Dominic Delcoco.

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