Musicians and Distance Learning: What Has Changed From Before COVID-19

A new learning plan has affected all Cam High students and staff members throughout the recent months, but especially students enrolled in music classes have been deeply impacted by new rules and regulations in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of quarantining guidelines, music students have had to adapt and change their ways of practicing by performing and playing instruments on their own. The majority of their classes have always relied on long hours of practice within relatively large groups, so primarily independent class time has been a major adjustment to the work they do. In order to stay one step ahead of the current conditions, they are pressured to use their time wisely and efficiently.

Marching band senior Kyla Stivers said, “I personally had to figure out how to get motivation to practice my instrument since I was not working towards any performances anymore. I spend about one hour a day practicing saxophone. Most of the rest of the time, besides school, I talk to my friends that I have made through music.”

Despite remaining socially distanced for the most part, certain music classes have gained the option of in-person practice for a fraction of the class time. It has been entirely optional for musicians to partake in, but for those who choose to attend these practices, the way they run are still not completely back to normal. Marching band students have been divided into smaller groups, either by Mr. Daniel Cook or Mr. Cameron Guerrero, Cam High’s band directors, and they attend on different days of the week.

Senior marching band and orchestra student Ashlei Tesnado said, “Both directors make it really comfortable for everyone and I feel like a lot of us adapted to it really easily, we just have to use our resources and apply it. What I have been doing currently with my time with these music classes is practicing when I can, listening to old and new recordings to get my ears back into listening to a full ensemble again and just doing what I can do in my control.”

Every musician at Cam High has had a different experience with quarantined schooling and practicing. However, as stated by senior choir and color guard student Victoria Bates, they continue to grow together while bringing out their best work.

“Everyone has had trouble trying to learn techniques over a computer or phone screen, but everyone is putting in so much effort this year trying to learn, especially the new band students,” said Bates. “My opinion would be I do not like doing everything virtually and being away from my teammates, but it has definitely made us closer by trying to learn from one another by ourselves.”

Whether or not Cam High will be fully up and running again in the third quarter of the school year has not stopped the musicians from preparing to return to campus in January of 2021. While it may have been difficult, they have put in the necessary hard work to learn over digital platforms, and have succeeded with their hybrid style of practice. Many of the students miss the in-person learning environment and continue to hope for a normal, completely in-person season in the future.