RUHS Choir adapts to new online format

Teacher Kelly Self uses various digital programs as part of her lesson plans


Choir performed their last concert in December 2019. The spring concert, unfortunately, had to be canceled due to COVID-19. PHOTO BY RIDER SULIKOWSKI.

Some classes refuse to let the pandemic disrupt their learning.

RUHS choir teacher Kelly Self said that the biggest way her choir classes have changed is that students cannot sing in live time together. 

“In lieu of this, my choir students are using a digital audio workstation called SoundTrap in which they can record together in the same virtual studio space,” Self said. “Each student has an audio track that is layered on top of one another to create the sound of the choir being together.” 

On block periods, students are introduced to the song they are recording for the week, then once the song is reviewed they are instructed to record the song themselves. Choir classes continue to learn about music theory and musicianship training. Team building and warm-ups are also routine.

“Because it is impossible to sing together in live time over Zoom, for the vocal warm-up portion everyone mutes themselves and sings along with me,” Self said. 

Self worries that because choir students will not be able to perform live in front of an audience, she will have a harder time recruiting students for the program next school year. 

“I fear this because we won’t be as visible at events (such as Homecoming and Redondo Beach Tree Lighting) as previous school years,” Self said. “I also worry about fundraising since not as many fundraisers are virtually available right now to help fund the program.”

Self plans on having performances for her students, though they will have to be through more unique mediums than in previous years. 

“We will have an audio and visual showcase of our students’ recording projects in the form of solo and group numbers. This will likely be released on our Youtube channel on a specific date,” Self said. “We may also try to do recorded ‘Carol Grams’ and ‘Valentine Grams’ that people can purchase and we would email to their friend, teacher or relative with their message.”

Self is proud of what her students have been able to accomplish given the circumstances. 

“They are doing very well at adapting to the new setting of the class, and I feel like we have a really good groove going at this point in the year since they know what to expect each day. I was surprised at how quickly they were able to pick up the ins and outs of the recording process on SoundTrap.”