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Virtual Rock Band

Virtual Rock Band

Even though we’re all teaching music from home, our teachers have been working together. Ms. Elana interviewed Mr. Stephen on his experience with our Rock Band program. How our student rock band adapted to online as a virtual rock band.

  • What activities work best with rock band, now being virtual?
    • I generally meet with everyone as a group at the beginning and end of class or rehearsal. I use the middle of each class to check in on students individually as they work on their parts for band. Recently, I’ve been having them come up with assignments and parts for each other, which they enjoy doing. They’ll create chord progressions, riffs or drum grooves for the others to go off and practice independently. Then they’ll come back and share their results.
  • What makes Virtual Rock Band successful?
    • The students already knew each other and had experience playing together. We did have a new student join us for Summertime. I was able to spend more time making him feel comfortable because the other students are accustomed well to the online environment now.
    • Early on, I realized we could focus on developing other skills online. Online therefore looks and works differently compared to in-person rock band. In-person is far superior for playing together as a group, but online has been better for focusing on individual parts and having students rehearse different parts. Practicing has also been more consistent with fewer extra-curricular activities competing for attention. I’d of course prefer teaching in-person compared to online, but we’re all making the best of a bad situation.

Founder of Music Notes Academy, a '12 NJSBDC award-winning community music school in East Brunswick, NJ. A teacher of music since '00, with degrees in music and education, specializing in curriculum and instruction.

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