Inside Peek: Changes at Glasgow’s Music Department


By Brooke Ehmann – Jones

May 1, 2021

Glasgow’s music department has seen some changes since concurrent learning started. The most notable change has been in band classes, but band, orchestra, and chorus have all been affected. 

Colleen Early, an 8th-grade clarinet player at Glasgow is in Wind Ensemble, the most advanced band at Glasgow. She is attending school in person and talks about how when the weather is nice, the ensemble gets to play outside. The students in-person would walk outdoor 3 and set up stands and chairs on the sidewalk squares, where they would warm-up, practice scales, harmonizing, and F stretches. “It’s more fun being in-person and playing together. I can also talk more with the teacher, which is always nice.” Colleen explains how during a virtual band class, students would receive an assignment, then be let go to do that assignment in Google Classroom. “Online was really hard to do any work. I had no motivation to do any kind of online assignments.” This is why she prefers in-person over online learning. She can play with an ensemble and has more fun in band. In addition, Colleen notices that in-person and virtual students don’t get the same learning experience. While virtual students are just doing the assignments, in-person students can work on harmonizing and playing with others.

In-person band students playing outside during class.

Misha Speede is an 8th-grade violinist in Chamber Orchestra, the leading orchestra class at Glasgow. Misha is staying virtual this year, and explains why she made this choice, “I’m learning more as an online student, and being online gives me more focus on the subject matter. I have much more time to be productive and successful as an online student. And personally, I can take more time to focus on my own details.” She elaborates and explains how her grades have improved with virtual learning, the teacher can recognize her contributions more, and she sometimes feels more comfortable participating in class in front of a screen. Overall, Misha says that orchestra class has stayed the same since hybrid started. They do a community builder, scales, and practice out of their learning book, she hasn’t seen a noticeable difference, except for the fact that some students are playing inside the building. Misha gives more of her opinions on online orchestra class, “I’m satisfied with the amount of attention I receive from Ms. Touzinsky, and I think it’s great that we can protect ourselves from getting Covid, and still be provided with an amazing orchestra experience. My learning experience is always about what I decide to make out of it, it’s not really controlled by other factors except me and how much initiative I take.” Misha finds joy in social interactions online and in-person, and shares that even with Covid-19, she still gets to play with the Hoodie squad, an orchestra ensemble she created with her friends. 

The Hoodie Squad during one of their meetings.

Katarina Sochurek is a 7th-grade Beginning chorus student, experiencing her first year of chorus at Glasgow online. Katarina switched to in-person school when hybrid started and notices that when you are in-person with the chorus, you not only get more one-on-one time with the teacher, but you also get to learn and experience class better when seeing your teacher face to face. She also explains how when she was virtual, she had to find an environment to sing in that wasn’t distracting, but also wasn’t distracting to other people in her house. In addition, the routine for class virtually is mostly the same as hybrid learning. The class would start with a community builder, then they would continue practicing a song, or learn something new, lastly, they would do classwork for the rest of the class (usually a slideshow). Now with hybrid, class starts a couple of minutes later because the teacher must accommodate the needs of other students outside of class, “but it’s about the same,” she says. When Katarina talks about the difference between in-person and online she says, “I definitely think that technology issues were a problem like it would lag or something, or maybe she would get kicked out of the session. But when we’re in-person, there are none of those problems, because we’re listening to her right there. I personally like the difference. When I’m in-person because I can hear her natural voice.” This supports her reasons for enjoying in-person chorus better. She also explains how it’s easier to sing, connect, and relate to your peers when you’re together in person.

Katarina singing in her chorus classroom in person.

Student’s reasons for being virtual or in-person vary from individual to individual, but whichever gives you the best learning experience is most important.