The music department continues to create music through remote learning


Jessica Velazquez

Although the music department is not able to make music in person together, they find new ways to create an ensemble.

Megan Drake

There is no doubt that school is looking a little different this year, but some classes are looking a little more different than others. Without the ability to create an ensemble sound, make music, and perform, music classes this year pose new challenges for staff and students. 

The Mustangs have various music clubs and traditions that are completely different this year. Students and staff are both upset about having to do things differently, however, they are making it work. 

“Nothing can replace the feeling like the connections that you have between a teacher and his or her students,” orchestra teacher Dr. Mark Liu said. 

Because in-person music classes rely on creating music and performing together in an ensemble, teachers have to change how their classes look. 

“We do not really have the ability to collaborate with other people and make music as we usually do, so it seems like there is a little bit of disconnect,” honors wind ensemble member Harrison Brosius said. 

These times may seem difficult, frustrating, and confusing for music students and staff, there are positives to teaching music online. 

Teachers now have the ability to give students more individualized instruction, whereas, in a large ensemble, those opportunities might be skipped over.  Students can focus more on the fundamental techniques in lower level ensemble classes and work on advancing individual musicianship in higher level ensembles. 

“Their technique is improving, their confidence is improving,” Liu said. “Something I tell them, again and again, is another plus of Zoom.”

Teachers have been working hard to incorporate as much playing as possible. Some ensembles are using applications like Soundtrap to record as an ensemble.

“The coolest moment was when everyone recorded their simple concert F [a note to establish the bands sound]” Fine Arts Department Chair Don Devany said. “Or when we recorded duets, and I put them all together so we could all listen to each other play together.”

There might be a lot more effort needed to simply hear the ensemble play together once, but that will not stop the Metea music department. 

As the department finds ways to problem solve, the continuation of marching band in person was one of their successes this semester. There were fewer members involved, but the Marching Mustangs still performed their rock and roll show in September. 

Marching band was not the only extracurricular this year. Tri-M continued this year virtually with virtual service events. Members are recording videos to send to middle and elementary schools to help kids stay engaged in music. Although the Tri-M board has created the first-semester service events, there is still some difficulty planning their virtual music events and meetings. 

“We are just planning on what we know, but things could change the next day or may not change at all,” Tri-M President Julianne Enas said. “It is hard to figure out what we can do.”