Music: From Distance to In-Person


2020 AVPA Music Winter Concert

Julia Leong, Staff Writer

There were many aspects of school that were greatly impacted by transitioning to distance learning; music was one of them. Music is an art that has been an integral part of popular culture for centuries, but it had never faced the unique challenge of this pandemic, where technology was the only way to produce ensemble music. During distance learning, Culver City High School’s music department was forced to adapt to a completely new system, which had very unusual drawbacks but also some benefits.
The impracticality of distance learning for music was seen from the start. Students were no longer able to have in person rehearsals, so their motivation declined. They were also unable to play in groups, which really limited overall productivity and ability. With that lack of cohesion, many players’ overall performance suffered.
The built-in practice time during in-person learning was taken away as well, meaning that students’ skills generally declined. There were also logistical issues that came with practicing. Many lived in housing situations where making a lot of noise by practicing is just not an option, so they were no longer able to practice enough.
Another casualty of quarantine music were the concerts. The music department was forced to resort to filming videos individually and then editing them together to make a coherent piece. The videos were heavily reliant on student participation, where some couldn’t even be bothered to submit their part. Some students didn’t even bother watching the finished product after the concerts were posted online.
However, while music was generally limited, there were some upsides to the experience. Dr. Spano, the head of the AVPA music school, felt that using new technology “to teach, having students use it to practice, and then using it to create performances were unique opportunities to be creative.” Teachers and students alike used this opportunity to take advantage of technology to benefit their playing. Due to these experiences, the many valuable online resources that have been made aware of can be useful in the future.
Overall, the transition from distance learning to in person has been greatly positive. Students are grateful for the opportunity to play in a group again. Playing in-person again has enabled many to reignite their passion for their playing because they are able to perform with others and appreciate the melding of different sounds from various instruments. These musicians are also finding that their creativity and passion is renewed as they are in an environment where they can once again flourish, and they are looking forward to playing in-person concerts again. While this past year has been very difficult, students are looking forward to going back to normal and just appreciate playing music with others again.