Lesson of the Day: ‘Pantyhose and Trash Bags: How Music Programs Are Surviving in the Pandemic’

Lesson of the Day: ‘Pantyhose and Trash Bags: How Music Programs Are Surviving in the Pandemic’

5. What do you think about the innovative ways that student music groups are using to perform together safely? What is your reaction to the article?

Option 1: What role do arts and extracurricular activities play in your life?

Are you a musician? Do you play an instrument or sing? How important is practicing and performing in your life? In what ways, if any, has the pandemic forced you to change how you practice and perform?

If you are not a musician, consider the role that other arts or extracurricular activities play in your life — and how the pandemic has disrupted those habits.

How have you adjusted over the past several months? What new habits or routines have you had to create? If you want, you can share your thoughts and ideas in the comments of our related Student Opinion question: What Habits Have You Started or Left Behind in 2020?

Option 2: What role does practicing and performing together with others play in your life?

The article states:

The Northern Virginia Community College campus in Annandale, Va., is home to a thriving symphony orchestra, open to students and members of the community. Despite having fewer resources and a smaller music department than most universities, it has the support of Reunion Music Society, a local nonprofit group that helped it reach record enrollment this year.

“This orchestra would not exist without community involvement,” said Ralph Brooker, president of Reunion Music Society and principal cellist in the orchestra.

This fall, the conductor, Christopher Johnston, has been organizing about 50 active orchestra members, who include older musicians, into small groups. Some rehearse six feet apart in carports and church parking lots, but most use JamKazam, a video chat platform that allows musicians to see and hear each other in real time.

The technology is imperfect. At a jazz group meeting, JamKazam kept booting Mr. Johnston off the call. The musicians turned to Zoom, where audio lag caused the individual parts of “My Funny Valentine” to trip drunkenly over each other. The song was barely recognizable, but the musicians grinned in their little onscreen boxes — the thrill of playing together had not been dampened.

“There is therapy in getting together with other musicians.” Mr. Johnston said. “It’s helping us cope with all of the negative byproducts of this time, one of which is loneliness.”

Respond to the quote at the end of the excerpt: “There is therapy in getting together with other musicians.” Why is it important for many musicians — and for young people in general — to practice and perform together?

Have you found ways to participate in your favorite extracurricular activities — whether they are artistic, athletic, academic or social — with other people during the pandemic? What activities? And what measures are being taken to make sure participants are staying safe?

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