Students handling Lane music courses online


Sinfonietta Christmas Eve performance, virtually seen on Youtube in December 2020. (Todorovic seen on upper right corner)

By Jocelyn Ramirez

While remote learning has been a difficult adjustment for everyone, it has presented some unique challenges for music students; third-year orchestra student Hassan Perez, mentions the struggles he’s been having with online learning.

“Before, it was much easier in person — you can hear each other and see if you mess up, but remotely it’s really hard to learn the pieces by yourself,” said Perez, who is currently taking Advanced Orchestra I as a senior. “Or know if you’re in tune whether that’s the tempo, the rhythm and getting the different instruments together and synching with the melody.”

With the sudden change to remote learning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lane Tech Music Department has had to adapt to the new online system — handling virtual performances for such events, preparing at home, finding ways to continue the engaging learning through a screen.

Teachers have also been adapting to online learning by using an app called SmartMusic, where teachers can track students’ progress. 

“We are able to make the track faster or slower and we can record ourselves and it assesses how well you’re playing,” Perez said. “I think that SmartMusic really helped with the part of practicing because it made it easier by listening to the accompaniment and by letting us practice at different speeds.”

Ms. Morales is the Orchestra Music Department Chair. Morales also includes discussions in her class like she would prior to the online learning, involving actual issues brought up today while bringing up music and how it can relate. 

One of Ms. Morales’s students is Maja Todorovic, Div. 150, who was in LTAC her 7th and 8th grade year. She has been in the music program for a full 6 years and 5 years in the Sinfonietta class. 

“I’ve done six different slides of six different Black composers and musicians for each year I’ve been here,” Todorovic said.  “With each year, you get to see new artists that get featured on people’s slides. I found a lot of great new musicians that I follow and listen to on Spotify, or just appreciate their work.” 

Todorovic has recently been going back to school during Shift B, attending school every week on Thursday and Friday. 

“It’s kind of odd because there’s only five of us,” she said. “It’s weird because we can’t bring our own instruments to school. I usually use my own and it’s always a struggle because I have to find a bow. It’s what happens with every school when you have rental instruments. We also do stuff online where we do sight reading or she’ll present the piece that we’re working on and we’ll play together just on mute,” Todorovic said.

Sinfonietta participated in the virtual winter assembly that Lane shared in December 2020. They performed three pieces, where students recorded themselves beforehand in order to piece together all recordings.

They also performed a memorial service for Garrett Logan Brodersen and Pedro Sanchez at Clark Park boathouse on June 6, 2021. 

“We played at the memorial service. We prepared and performed two songs —  ‘Believer’ by Imagine Dragons for Pedro, and ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay for Garrett. These bands were favorites of theirs,” Maja said. 

Marching Band, also known as Varsity Band, includes band members, drumline, flags, and majorettes. Juan Diego Rojas’s varsity experience was cut short during his sophomore year due to the pandemic.

“I just hope we go back to school next school year and go back to playing like normal because music is a hobby for me, so I really enjoyed it and hope to go back at least for my senior year,” said Rojas, Div. 246.

During online learning, Mr. Veren and Mr. Flygt, who teach the class, give students songs they have gone over previously and review them together. They also watch documentaries about different artists and then answer questions.

Students who have been going back to in person learning have not been playing due to the requirement of wearing masks in school. 

“The teachers are very understanding about the situation we’re going through right now,” Rojas said. “So they don’t really expect so much from us to the point that we can’t complete the assignments and I feel like we do what we could do with virtual learning.”

Through this difficult challenge, one still finds true friendships in the music program. 

“I feel like music is the thing that is for everyone like art, they’re always for everyone,” Todorovic said. “And it’s something that you will learn to appreciate once you know how to do it. So that’s why I really encourage people to do it. If you already play an instrument, obviously go audition. We’re like a little community. We’re a little family. It’s just nice to be there.”