What will music classes look like in the era of social distancing? | WHEC.com

What will music classes look like in the era of social distancing?

Andrew Hyman
Updated: July 31, 2020 11:30 PM
Created: July 31, 2020 11:26 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The music was pouring out of Rachel Dobbs's living room piano, as she belted out the chords to the Rochester School Number Four theme song, but soon, the long-time music teacher may be back playing in class, tunes and all.

On Thursday, the Rochester City School District announced its proposed plan to have some in-person classes, and that includes music.

“We are so glad to still be able to have this opportunity," Dobbs said.

Much like learning a new song, she says the current pandemic is creating a new learning experience, both for students, and teachers.

Because some of her students will work remotely, not her in-class capacity will be down significantly, and even when students show up to class, guidelines outlined by the New York State Department of Education require students to be at least twelve feet apart, or, spread outside.

It's a situation that is forcing teachers like Dobbs to make changes, whether they’re in class, or online.

"We've thought of a lot of different ways to make music-making and learning about music safe for our students," Dobbs said.

For starters, any in-person class won't be held in music rooms, they'll be done in larger, more spaced out classrooms.  Some instruments will be routinely sanitized, while others, will be kept on the shelves, and for the kids at home, Dobbs says they are carving out a curriculum with a special online program.

While they’re up to the test, Dobbs says there will be some challenges, but at a time where certain opportunities are still locked down or were shut down, she says it’s critical to keep the music, and lessons behind it, alive.

"We just have to roll with it, it's what schools are going to have to do in general, and we’re all just going to have to do our best, stay safe, and stay positive," Dobbs said.

As it stands, chorus classes are on hold, as Dobbs says finding the proper space is difficult, though the district is monitoring a Colorado State University study regarding performing arts in the pandemic.

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