By Christina Chen

Graphic by Ron Boegel

Since the start of quarantine in March of 2020, classes at Las Lomas have had to adjust so they could be taught online. Due to this, many teachers have had to change the way they teach or alter their lesson plans so they could be executed through a screen. Band classes, being a class that largely relies on group work and teamwork, had to figure out how to host band online.

With the implementation of distance learning some inconveniences and downsides arose. For many, it meant missing out on integral events: “Having participated actively in band activities, I’ve definitely been a little sad to miss out on in person rehearsals and performances.” said Senior Isabel Shic. When asked what some pros and cons of online band were, she said “I’m not really sure if there are any pros to online band – ensemble music is intended to be enjoyed by multiple people.”

Practice has also become difficult for students. Some have found that their time spent practicing has stayed consistent while others have found their practice time decreasing, “As much as I would like to say I still practice consistently, there’s really not much of an incentive to practice, such as a performance or being judged by everyone in class. So no, I don’t practice as much as I used to.” Shic said.

However, despite the difficulties presented, band teachers have found ways to host band class over Zoom and make learning interesting: “We’re still working on a few pieces using a platform called Smart Music, where we’ll play with a recording of the piece and eventually submit our own recordings. We’ve also done virtual chamber groups, where members of a group record separately, then assemble the recordings on a platform similar to GarageBand.” said Shic. “In jazz band, Ms. Shankle (our teacher) invited Director John Maltester to teach a clinic over Zoom, which was fun.” 

With hope for the future, band teachers have made preparations for students returning for Hybrid. “I know that Ms. Shankle has purchased special masks for instrumental purposes, as well as bell covers for brass players like me, so I believe students who do go back to hybrid will be protected as much as possible.” Shic said

“Nevertheless, I think Ms. Shankle is doing a great job pulling together different activities – she makes class as interesting as it can be, given our current situation.” said Shic.