Choirs adjust to singing through a screen

All choirs have been utilizing BandLab and Flipgrid to adapt to the new circumstances of distance learning and continue rehearsing for concerts. 

BandLab is a music creation platform, although choir students mainly use it to listen to prerecorded piano parts for their songs and take recordings of their vocals. Flipgrid is a platform where students can submit video responses to assignment posts, and students use it by posting clips of them singing for homework or assessments. 

“One thing I don’t like about [BandLab] is that it’s really confusing to use and you have to have the right headsets for the sound to be produced in a high quality. There’s so many functions that it’s weird when you’re a beginner user,” Chamber Singer junior Sarah Chang said. “Flipgrid is pretty nice because sometimes we get to look at other people’s Flipgrids. It’s nice to see everyone’s progress and what we should and shouldn’t be doing.”

During class time, students typically split off into breakout rooms on Zoom to practice in their respective sections. This allows choir director Lisa Lopez to divide her time assisting each group rather than only focusing on one at a time during in-person classes. Some differences to in-person learning that students have encountered while rehearsing over video call are difficulties with syncing together and technical issues such as poor internet connection and audio quality. In addition, a change in terms of concerts is that students can now perform more than one part by doing recordings of them singing multiple sections.

“When the internet is slow, it is really frustrating. But I think it’s a different environment when we are all doing it online, especially because we have to work together.” Rhapsody in Blue senior Ashley Gao said. “The benefit of this whole process is that we get to control and manage our time and I think it’s more effective.”

Although the learning and practicing experience cannot be the same as it was in the classroom, using online platforms has allowed for the choirs to accommodate with not being able to meet face-to-face.

“[Since] we can do things virtually, it’s easier to record, but we won’t be able to all sing together in real time,” Chamber Singer sophomore Kian Chou said. “In person, you’re able to socialize and sing together, which is pretty much what defines choir as a whole. Choir with distance learning isn’t as fun as in person, but it’s close to the real experience.” 

By Natalie Cheng, Arts editor
Photo courtesy of Sarah Chang