Music Education During a Pandemic

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Music Education During a Pandemic

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Music has been a big part of my life ever since I was young. I picked up the violin in second grade, and my involvement in the music industry has only grown since then. This year is my senior year as a music education major in college; however, in light of the pandemic, I am anxious about what the future holds for music.
Music class is very different from other classes that students may have throughout the day. While it is more feasible for a math or science class to be completely online, with live-streamed lessons and online assignments, these concepts are not so easy for a music class. With a large ensemble, it is almost impossible for the teacher to actually hear their students play in an online format. Many schools are using Zoom, which is great for the virtual classroom, however it tends to have a significant audio lag. Due to this problem, music ensembles cannot actually all rehearse at one time. Many music teachers have dealt with this problem by requesting that students mute themselves and then play along to a pre-recorded track that the teacher will prepare for them; however, with this barrier, the teacher will never be able to hear their students play all together, which is a crucial part of an ensemble rehearsal to assure that everyone is fully understanding the music.
Not only are large ensemble rehearsals affected by these restrictions, but also the elementary general music classroom. In elementary general music, singing is a crucial part of the curriculum. At a young age, students need to be able to start singing so that they are able to start developing a knowledge of pitch and rhythm. At this stage of brain development, it is crucial for students to be able to have this aural experience in person. However, in many areas of the country, singing in a public space has been completely banned. This causes a big problem for music educators because there are so many concepts that they cannot teach without being able to sing with their students.
I am in no way stating that the measures being taken in light of the pandemic are unnecessary; I believe that COVID should be taken very seriously and completely understand why it is that these restrictions need to be put in place for educators everywhere to keep the staff and students safe. However, it is frustrating to know that some people are blatantly not following guidelines, which is causing a delay in reopening schools, and because of this, an entire industry is being affected. So many musicians work off of the profit they get from live concerts alone. However, absolutely no concert halls will be able to reopen until we have this disease under control. During the time of the pandemic, I worry for what is going to happen to the music industry, and how this is going to take a toll on music programs all over the country.

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This item was submitted on September 13, 2020 by [anonymous user] using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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