The Covid-19 pandemic may have raised some interesting challenges, but learning how to sing online might be the most perplexing one yet. There are some negatives and positives to doing choir over Zoom at Kern Valley High this year. It is easier to hear oneself sing when doing choir over Zoom. From there, one can really listen to the way they sound and improve their voice. It is also possible to listen to the other kids in the class. When the class first began using Zoom as a platform to practice choir, many students found it unusual and difficult compared to normal years. As they continued, however, the students began to adapt to these changes.
The choir director at Kern Valley High School, Mr. Townsend, had some interesting takes on doing choir virtually. According to him, teaching choir over Zoom is more complicated than instructing students in person. He also made the point that it is almost impossible to listen to all of your students at once as they sing for you, while in person you can give instant feedback on their performance. Instant feedback is nice for an instructor, Mr. Townsend says, because then the teacher can give comments on how the students did and move on with a correction or another step. Over Zoom, constructive input is better accomplished by asking students to submit a video, which is beneficial, but the commenting process takes even longer, often more than a class period.
Mr. Townsend also made a few interesting points about the lesson planning that he does for daily instruction. The lesson that he gives each day will consist of going over information from the last class, learning new concepts for the day’s lesson, and practicing music. The students are also given an assignment that relates back to the music. According to Mr. Townsend, a daily lesson could be used either in Zoom or in person, but usually, the lessons must be planned in very different ways. In person, Mr. Townsend would normally plan the lesson with paper or materials the students could actually touch and use. During distance learning, however, he must learn to plan the lesson online via Canvas. Conducting class over Zoom is different than conducting class in person, he says, because he feels like it is difficult to find efficient ways of transferring information to students. Despite the trying times, however, Mr. Townsend and his students are doing their best to keep their love of music alive during the Covid 19 pandemic.