How does remote learning work for instrumental music?
Instrumental Music, also known as “band," is a performance -based class. This has been a challenge since we haven’t been able to meet together in the traditional sense. Rehearsals and performances are not possible in the same way as before, but with the help of the students, families, creative scheduling, administration, Chromebooks for every student, and music software, we are rising to the challenges.
The remote learning situations are ones that are new and challenging for musicians. We don’t do “paper and pencil” type of learning. This has been a new process for music educators and students across the country. At Logan Elm, we are thinking outside the box, learning from others and using our resources to make it possible to continue rehearsing and performing.
What does it look like? The challenge is figuring out how a band can rehearse well when everyone is at home. There are many unique circumstances to create a quality lesson. Some students can't play their instruments at home because their parents are working from home, they live in an apartment, or play a school instrument that is too large to bring home. Being able to play as a group and learn good, quality literature is an issue. Band music is like a jigsaw puzzle; all of the parts go together to make one beautiful piece. It is really hard to practice when you are only one part of the puzzle. The district has purchased Smart Music in order to provide the students with a better quality remote learning experience. This program allows every student to play their part into their own Chromebook while being able to hear the accompaniment parts, as if we were playing together. They can record their playing and submit their assignment. Then, I get to hear it, provide feedback, and teach remotely. It is authentic learning which is so important; it is not just paper and pencil work to keep the kids busy or something to just give them a grade. Right now, they are working on music for our next concert, solo and ensemble contest and music fundamentals - everything we would be doing in class.
Many other schools haven't been as lucky to be able to continue to meet. We have been blessed with wonderful students who want to play in band together and are working hard to make this year count. This year is truly a team effort between the students, families, teachers, administrators, and community members to think outside the box and do what is best for kids. Everyone at Logan Elm has been FANTASTIC during all of these changes and we can't thank people enough for the continued support of the music program.
Submitted by Becky Wagner,
Logan Elm Instrumental Music Teacher, Gr. 5-12