Music Department Shifts to Online Classes

Photo by Southern Oregon University

COVID-19 social distancing guidelines has resulted in a completely new way of learning for students in the performing arts. All music majors and minors are taking their required classes on Zoom. While it may seem like a challenge, the Music Department’s Chair, Cynthia Hutton, said the staff were meeting the new normal with confidence. Staff are taking the time to check in with their students on their emotional health and to make sure they aren’t too worn out from the monotony of online classes. “We’re trying to reach out to [students] personally, and trying to go beyond the subject matter,” Hutton said.

She also added that instructors are always working on how to improve the class experience as some courses lend themselves better to being taught in a physical space vs. over the internet. 

Hutton explained that classes dealing with music theory and appreciation were an easier transition to going online. It’s more difficult when an instructor has a group of students playing instruments or singing in a choir since not everyone is going to be in sync because of the time delay caused by lack of access to high-speed internet.  

The Music Department is working on this issue, and if Fall term is remote, the faculty hope to fix it by then. Fortunately, current seniors working on capstones don’t have to worry, Hutton noted. The department has years of experience with online portfolios so seniors can collect and submit their best works online.

Unfortunately, students who had scheduled performances or recitals in Spring and Fall, might have to postpone those performances until Winter term or even later. On the other hand, solo musicians are doing live streams to make up for their cancelled performances. 

The Music Department faculty are just one of many groups on campus who have had to piece together a way forward in this virtual learning environment. Even though school is winding down, they are always looking to improve the learning experience while students remain at home. 

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