Orchestra classes resume partially in person at Superior High School

Orchestra+Director+Amy+Eichers+is+conducting+the+Orchestra+Students+in+class+as+well+as+the+online+students+with+her+computer+on+Tuesday%2C+September+29.+Students+in+the+class+are+wearing+masks+and+social+distancing.%0A

Jayden Ketola

Orchestra Director Amy Eichers is conducting the Orchestra Students in class as well as the online students with her computer on Tuesday, September 29. Students in the class are wearing masks and social distancing.

By Jayden Ketola, Reporter

At the start of the 2020-21 school year, the Superior High School Music Department has been able to resume their music classes partially in person. 

Although the orchestras are partially back together for this school year, things are different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the changes include smaller class sizes with a mix between online and in-person instruction, as well as different styles of orchestra music due to the smaller class sizes.

According to Orchestra Director Amy Eichers, students are divided into smaller classes consisting of three to 12 students. 

The online students need to keep their microphones muted during class because there is a lag when they are learning virtually. “It takes about a second for what we’re doing in school to get to them, and then their video back to me is another second,” Eichers said.

Concert Orchestra hybrid student Satori Rekstad said, “We’re not together as a whole group anymore.”

There are four other hybrid students in Rekstad’s orchestra class and there are no online students in her class.

Rekstad indicates that orchestra is different this year primarily because there is no full orchestra group. She says that she is the only cello in her class while there are two violins as well as two violas in her class. 

There are some orchestra concerts planned, however, that may look different. For the first concert, students will record themselves playing their parts to music and then Eichers will sync it together with computer software. Students will still get orchestra experience on virtual concert day when they can hear their parts being combined.

Currently, online students have the first hour of the school day open for one on one interaction with the orchestra director.

Concert Orchestra online student Owen Schilling says that there is one other virtual student in his class and two hybrid students in his class.

“As online students, we can’t share our audio at the same time as students are playing in the class. If Mrs. Eichers wants to hear us, we have to play separately from the people in the classroom,” Schilling said.

Playing in smaller orchestra groups may not seem as good as playing with the full orchestra group; however, some people like it that way. Schilling says that it’s easier to get more individualized feedback on what he is playing. There aren’t as many people in the class making it much easier for feedback to be given and improve more on playing.

“We do have concerts on the calendar. The plan at least for this fall is to do some type of a virtual performance at least for the orchestra group. So there will be something. Our first concert is on Oct. 26,” Eichers said.