Music at a Distance

The obstacles students have had to face as members of the music program during a global pandemic

It+was+a+very+different+year+for+music+students+on+the+Enochs+High+School+campus.+

It was a very different year for music students on the Enochs High School campus.

Abigayle Mckinney, Editor

Imagine this; A big stage filled with rows of people sitting side by side, instruments of brass and silver gleaming as the stage lights bounce off of them. 

The lights go dim and the first few notes are played – filling the hall with the grandeur of a melodic symphony. Each instrument adds in, the music building and building, filling the hall and hearts of the audience with a song that has been practiced for weeks and months – moving the audience. 

It’s an incredible feeling. A special moment for every musician – to feed off of the audience’s admiration and the rush of being up on stage, performing with some of your closest friends. 

It’s what musicians work for. It’s what many of them live for. 

 But this year, as with everything else, that all changed. 

Suddenly students who were used to spending hours feeding off of one another’s musical talents, practicing to get a section of a piece just right, and learning from their director and each other – were sitting alone in their rooms in front of a computer screen. 

A music class was and is – from a pandemic perspective – one of the worst places to be. A large group of people, blowing air through instruments in an enclosed space for hours on end doesn’t sound very covid-safe.

So it comes as no shock that even as students are able to return to school, music class still isn’t the same, and isn’t what it should be. 

Despite the odds stacked against them, music students and their directors rose to the challenge. 

As a music student myself, I can attest it wasn’t easy to be in music this year. It was hard to sit through a class period, knowing what I was missing out on, knowing that it likely wasn’t going to be normal again for a long time, missing the friends I would meet during band class. 

Despite all of that though, I was grateful to be able to connect in any way with my classmates and make music with others – even from a screen. 

It’s hard to motivate yourself to practice when you don’t get to see – or rather, hear – the reward, but we adapted just like everyone else. 

Here at Enochs High School, we were able to submit videos of ourselves playing our pieces and were given resources to help us practice on our own without actually feeling like we were practicing on our own. 

We were able to play with each other through conferences, fighting the lag and audio problems that come with playing through a speaker. We were even able to record ourselves and use software that allowed us to put all of those recordings together. It almost sounded like a real band. It almost felt like it too. 

It was still challenging. And frustrating. And a thousand other emotions that come with losing something to the vicious grasp of the pandemic. 

It was on us to put in the practice time, to want to improve for ourselves and not necessarily for the betterment of the band. 

Even though we’re back on campus now, we are still hindered by regulations. Brass instruments have to have bell covers that go around the opening of their instruments – making us sound like kazoos at times. 

We wear specialized masks with holes that we can slide our mouthpieces through. 

We sit six feet apart from each other and put a computer with everyone who is still online on a stand, so they can try to feel like they’re there with us too. 

It isn’t the same, and I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy, but we understand that playing music at a distance is better than playing music from a screen. 

Despite all of the hindrances and obstacles music students face, we accept them and work with what we are given to make the most of it. 

It’s a reflection of the discipline, dedication, and perseverance each student learns as a musician. 

Even though we don’t know what music will look like next year, we make music in any and every way we can.