Music education and the struggles of teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – The education system was put through a proverbial ringer during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The transition to 100% virtual learning has not been smooth for any teacher, student, or subject. This has also been felt in the extracurricular world, music education was put through tests that the instructors never thought they would see. This article will detail the transition and struggles local music educators went through during the Pandemic, and what they look forward to the most.

“Honestly, I think the hardest most immediate struggle was handling how heartbroken our students and families were with performances and competitions were postpones, and then later canceled.” Said Karen Bryson, K-12 Music Coordinator at Corning-Painted Post Schools. They detailed the difficulty of having to teach music virtually and how they transitioned to a lot of one on one lessons. Some students did okay, some thrived, and some struggled.

Corning-Painted Post did host some virtual events during 2020, all of which were successful. Since CPP has switched to more of a hybrid model for schooling, some students have been able to play in the building again.

“We started doing live in more rhythm reading and breaking down our rhythms, but tried and true methods like, you know, things that I know that work.” Said Don Allen, Instrumental Music Teacher at CPP High School.

An issue that still exists from the pre-COVID era of music education is the concept of practicing at home. Many students were not able to practice much outside of school for one reason or another, and that issue has crept up again during virtual learning.

“One of the struggles that we have both then and now is when students are home. They’re not always able to make music at home at the time that we need them to make music. Dad has been on an overnight and he’s finally home but he’s sleeping, and they can’t play their trumpet they can’t sing right now.” Said Bryson.

Thankfully things are looking up. With the hybrid model in place, music can be heard in the school halls at times, which is something that they will likely not take for granted again. Something that Joe Stork, Instrumental Music Teacher at CPP High School, will not take for granted again is a chatty ensemble. “I never thought I would miss saying, hey, let’s go. No, it’s like the opposite I’m like, can you please disrespect me. It’s like we’re humans like come on.”

Don Allen said he cannot wait to see band live again.

You can find the full interview with all three CPP music educators below. They go into greater detail regarding the struggles of teaching music during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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