A Change in Acoustics

As choir continues to practice in-person, morale rises


While part of advanced choir practices outside the auditorium, the other part of the class remains on Zoom, where they listen in from the computer setup seen on the right. Photo by Kelly Self

After eight months of singing over Zoom, choir has resumed singing together in person. 

According to choir teacher Kelly Self, to ensure students’ safety, the new rules include singing outside, staying six feet apart and wearing a mask at all times as the school marks the beginning of transitioning to in-person learning.

Nonetheless, Self can see improved interactions the students have despite being physically distanced.

 “In regard to the connection between students, I can tell by the way they interact with another in person that there is an extra layer of joy,” Self said.

The first part of the class consists of completing a “non-singing” portion of the lesson in the classroom. Then, the choir class moves outside to sing.

“We bring out my laptop for Zoom kids, a foldable table, a microphone that picks up sound from both sides and a keyboard,” Self said. “When students rehearse in sections by voice part, they also use a boombox to play and sing along with music guide tracks.”

Prior to in-person learning, Self utilized a program called “Soundtrap” where she would assign sheet music and guide tracks, sing along with it, go over the components about it, and then the students would record themselves, and she would listen to them and provide feedback. As some students have elected to remain distance learning out of concern for their safety,  the students will continue this together as a group.  

However, Self said the choir will continue to have virtual productions to allow every member to participate and not feel left out.

Despite half the class logging into class on Zoom and the other being physically in class, Self doesn’t feel more stress. However, she claims it is odd having to split her attention between both groups, while dealing with the “technological steps” to ensure everyone is caught up and able to participate in class.

“Singing and teaching in person is better. Creating harmony live is one of those special things that cannot be fully replicated over Zoom. It was cool to teach my students about music technology and how to effectively record themselves this year, though,” Self said. 

Sarah Heinesh, a senior and member of choir, agrees with Self that the in-person singing experience is more enjoyable. After already receiving her vaccine, she feels safe enough to return to school.

Although the choir comes together to practice in groups, Heinesh feels they are pretty responsible about “taking the necessary precautions” as everyone is socially distanced with their group, despite the discomfort and annoyance of singing with a mask on the whole time and not being able to sing together in a circle like usual. 

“It feels different. But, a good kind of difference. It feels nice to sing with people in person rather than just in my bedroom,” Heinesh said.