The entire Hopatcong School Distract has been worked hard across all areas to ensure that remote learning is providing the best experience for everyone involved. This remote learning also extends to holding Music and Band practices and even working with the Marching Band practices.
So how is it possible that live group participation events like Bands and Music classes are even possible?
Two Teachers at Hopatcong School District are working hard to challenge the students virtually to enhance their skills with the promise of once things open up “We’ll be Making Music Together Soon!”
Tools and Techniques being Utilized:
Hopatcong School District teachers Mr. Kurt Zimmermann, Director of Bands and Mr. Albert Cerulo, Middle School Band Teacher have collaborated together to tune into the students’ needs and enhance the virtual experience. Together these two teachers are utilizing a variety of different tools and techniques to keep the music flowing with everyone in harmony.
While students still have standard assignments and practice, the teachers have gotten creative with virtual learning to offer:
- Weekly Group Sessions that include rehearsing new music for upcoming performances, with the newly added twist of peer review from fellow students
- New virtual assignments such as studying the Boston Symphony Orchestra online instruction and tips
- Additionally, students are submitting recordings that are being critiqued on an individual basis
According to Mr. Albert Cerulo, “This has really flipped the classroom, while we can instruct, we are finding that kids are using this opportunity to teach themselves, and many are finding new capabilities in themselves, and many of these kids are going to come back as better students.”
Both teachers agree the only thing missing is playing together as an ensemble, which is really the tribal roots of music.
“Whether we come back in the Summer or the Fall, we are picking up right where we left off, and I expect that our first performance will be within the first two weeks.” Stated, Mr. Kurt Zimmermann
“By biggest headache right now is maintaining the schedule, the month of May is one of our busiest, and we just keep trying to postpone events as much as possible, we may even see the performance of Guys and Dolls happen this summer. We just don’t know right now.”
Technology issues and long hours now also seem to be the norm with us working through internet outages, individual and group sessions, grading papers, and other administrative work. We are finding that most teachers are working late at night just to get ready for the next day. Another interesting challenge we are seeing is that some students are now working during the day or have babysitting responsibilities. We have to be sensitive to these situations but it adds another layer of complexity in setting appointments.
“Besides continuing to work on their performance, we are especially trying to be the rock and calmness in their life.” Stated Mr. Albert Cerulo, “I start each of my individual sessions with my 45 band members with first checking on how they are doing, and at the end, I assure each one that we’ll see you soon.”
“I also believe this experience is strengthening the bond between the teachers, parents, and kids. We are communicating more, and we virtually get to look into each other’s homes.”
Both teachers wanted to close with this message to their students… “We’ll see you soon – When we come back it will be a celebration.”
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