Music and Art Classes at MHS During the E-learning and Hybrid Model

Faith Watz, Staff Writer

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to make substantial changes to their lives; from wearing masks out in public to doing distance learning from home, life is much different than it used to be a year ago.

According to Emma Garcia at Economy Policy Institute, “Almost overnight, the pandemic forced the cancellation of the traditional learning that takes place in school settings.”

Distance learning has been no easy adjustment for students, and many struggled to keep up and stay motivated. Students had to adapt to almost constant change. From distance learning to hybrid, almost every week looked a little bit different than the one before.

As we pass the one-year mark of such changes at MHS, distance learning and hybrid have adapted and changed significantly from where they started.

Art and music are some of the classes that have faced the most change and biggest challenges since the pandemic began in 2020.

Ruby Martin ‘23, explained how band class works in hybrid.

“Typically in band class, the teacher will have a Google Meet with themselves, the class and the people online. The students at home will usually just have to play along with the class but online,” Martin said.

2D art classes like drawing and digital photography run very similarly to how they are supposed to, as students worked on projects both in school and at home. However, some of the 3D classes have faced some challenges.

Annmarie Umland, an MHS art teacher, explained how teaching 3D classes virtually was a challenge.

Umland said, “It was very difficult to get materials to students and have them work with them at home, especially ceramics and darkroom photo.”

Umland explained further, “Some things just are not possible for students to do without the equipment we have here at school, so I feel like they missed out on some fun stuff and that makes me so sad.”

The hybrid or online experience of choir is similar to that of band. Classes are held in the auditorium with the teacher on the stage connecting with both in-person and online students.

Paige Terry, ‘23, explained the challenges of hybrid choir.

Terry said, “It’s hard singing in masks; I can only really hear myself, and it’s hard to match my pitch.”

Terry also said, “I feel way less connected to my choir class, which is different because choir is typically a class where everyone is close and connected like a choir family.”

Although it’s different taking these classes online, it’s not all bad.

Martin said, “Something positive that has come out of online band for me is having more time to work on individual music projects on my own time for fun”. She also said, “we all have really been able to really appreciate and make good use of the days we have been able to get together and have band.”

Of the COVID teaching experience, Ms. Umland said that “Being online has made me even more eager to be in the classroom and make connections with students outside of the curriculum too. It also forced me to become overly organized with lessons and keep track of each individual student’s progress”.

Ultimately, while art and music at MHS have looked a lot different since the pandemic, many students and teachers have experienced positive outcomes from taking their art and music classes online.

If possible, MHS students should do their best to to embrace the changes happening around them, because, in the wise words of famous artist Frida Khalo, “we can endure much more than we think we can.”