Along with the rest of MU, the School of Music was forced to go online due to COVID-19. As with any major, the transition has proven difficult.
Music students have different types of classes compared to other majors, which include personal lessons with instruments, group ensembles and conducting. So, professors and students have had to be flexible.
Ensemble classes such as choir, band, orchestra or even the school’s opera have ended. All personal lessons have transferred to Zoom.
COVID-19 has affected all MU students in one way or another. For the school of music, though, students have had the unique experience of doing their classes online without having their peers to support them.
Isabel Martins, a MU voice teacher, said that lessons over Zoom limit how much she can teach.
“I feel that I am only doing part of what I should be doing,” Martins said. “When I work in person, I can check more details, body movements, face expressions and I can hear the sound more clearly. Online I can only see a part of it, part of what the image allows me. I feel limited.”
Neil Minturn, a professor of music theory, said that teaching music online is challenging. Prep time has doubled because professors have to make digital sheet music legible over Zoom, and it’s hard to know if students are staying engaged. Minturn finds this transition to remote classes difficult because he doesn’t know what types of online content he can offer to make it better for students.
“I am pretty sure that I am not taking advantage of things that are available in an online medium, but I am not even sure what I’m missing,” Minturn said. “There must be some shift to make this better for them.”
Ethan Welker, a freshman music education major, said that Zoom has made classes less collaborative.
“I think it’s a lot more of our professors talking at us. It might be a little awkward to speak out and ask questions. In person, we can just shout out the answer,” Welker said. “But on Zoom you don’t want to talk over anyone else or have your sound cut out. The technical side of things just adds a little awkwardness.”
This can be especially hard for members of the music school because they live for seeing and talking to each other; there’s a mutual companionship in the School of Music, according to Welker. This is something that Welker was just beginning to experience before in-person classes ended.
“A major portion of what keeps music students motivated is just seeing each other and talking by the practice rooms and hearing other musicians in the same building,” Welker said. “The camaraderie of the music school is something that was just starting to get going this semester before we went online.”
Edited by Sophie Stephens | email@example.com