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Music class composes a new virtual learning curriculum

By Bertina Fan and Ashley Lee Dec. 8, 2020

Rachel Kim Art

In a regular school year, music classes at the school consisted of collaborative rehearsals and performances. Therefore, when Rian Rodriguez, Visual Performing Arts Department, learned of San Jose Unified School District’s decision to enact virtual learning, he wanted to implement a new curriculum that would still maintain the communal environment that in-person learning provided.

This year, Rodriguez is focusing on developing students’ composing and editing skills. During class, students record their own playing, edit music and listen to their classmates’ live and recorded compositions. Similar to previous years, the music classes still listen to and analyze professional music in class. In doing so, the students steadily improve their music producing skills and grow their knowledge of music. In addition, Rodriguez encourages students to collaborate with classmates to create their own music by utilizing online platforms like BandLab, GarageBand and Logic. Students are even able to earn money by exporting these creations onto platforms such as YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.

During class, students record their own playing, edit music and listen to their classmates’ live and recorded compositions.

As the holidays are nearing, students in orchestra are currently recording a performance of The Nutcracker Suite. In contrast to previous school years when members played musical pieces cohesively, this year, they will separately record their parts before all the clips are combined together to form the final recording.

“It is more difficult to record the Nutcracker virtually, especially because it creates more stress on students to continuously refine their playing for each video clip. However, I am lucky to have great student leaders that are not only amazing players but are also experienced in recording and holding virtual rehearsals,” Rodriguez said.

Once the final version of The Nutcracker Suite is recorded, the class will post their performance on the Music Department’s Instagram account. Recently, Seniors Charlotte MacNeal, Megan Lee and Lindsey Evon created this account to upload videos of students playing music to better connect with the school during distance learning.

Especially since virtual learning can hinder students’ abilities to connect with one another, Rodriguez’s new curriculum strives to combat this by encouraging them to collaborate with each other when developing their own compositions and recordings. Despite the new virtual curriculum, student musicians aim to continue the motivation and sense of community they established in previous years through online performances and collaborative compositions.


About the Contributors

Bertina Fan

Staff Writer

Bertina Fan is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a staff writer for The Charger Account. She likes to start off messages with "ヾ(°∇°*) Hi!"

Ashley Lee

Feature School and Community News Editor

Ashley Lee is a junior at Leland High School and the Community News and Feature School page editor for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys baking, traveling, and trying new cuisine.

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