Would you enroll your child for a virtual choir experience this year? Many parents have hesitated to sign their children up for additional online programs after a long day at Zoom school. In fact, when 28 K-5th grade parents were asked if they would enroll their children in an online after school program this year, nearly 61% answered “No.” “It’s just too much Zoom”, says Mrs. Smith, a parent at Los Angeles Unified School District. Luckily, a choir director in the Beverly Hills School District, Ms. Chan, has managed to find a solution to keep her young choir singers. With over 45 students enrolling this year, the BHUSD Honor Choir for elementary school students has managed to continue despite the pandemic.
When asked about her feelings when first starting the transition process to online teaching, Ms. Chan revealed that she felt “not great at all” about the entire situation. “Most teachers were on survival mode last March,” she notes. Despite her worries, Ms. Chan’s advanced elementary school BHUSD Honor Choir was able to carry on with online rehearsals and practice recordings since last March. In fact, the fourth and fifth grade choir even produced a full performance video with most of the students included by the end of May.
Fortunately, Ms. Chan was able to start the 2020 school year in September with her Honor Choir once again- this time, she joined third grade students as well. But still, the process to fully transition online was not easy. “I was able to teach them a two-part harmony,” comments Ms. Chan, “but it also came with making a lot of videos with myself conducting and singing, so students could look at the score while listening to the soundtrack.” However, all of this is massive amounts of extra work put on the teacher.
When asked about a word of advice for choir teachers with younger students, Ms. Chan advised that instructors look for “easy, catchy songs,” and carry the humble goal of “just getting [the students] to come to class.” She emphasized that “right now, the most important thing would be to keep their interest in singing and learning.” As a teacher, Ms. Chan observes that she too has gained a lot during this pandemic. “You sometimes don’t get to challenge yourself if you keep doing things the same way. As a music teacher with lots of experience, this is almost like a new job,” she noted with a smile.