It is finally here, the long-awaited show. All the practicing and late nights come down to this performance, but you are ready. Here goes nothing! Only instead of taking the stage, you open your laptop and hit record.
The studio in which our music majors have been performing and practicing is all too familiar. Since last March, bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and backyards have replaced the recital halls, practice rooms and classrooms in Building 24.
Being able to prepare and execute a concert is fundamental for a musician.
“Music is a performing art and is most rewarding when done live in person, rehearsing with each other, and performing for others,” said Professor Rickey Badua, director of bands and instrumental music, and conductor of the Wind Ensemble and Concert Band.
The adjustment to home shows and collaborations was not easy for our students either.
“It has been rough. I miss being able to collaborate on projects with my friends and classmates in person. I absolutely miss being able to get hands-on experience inside the recording studios at school,” said Kerby Diaz, fourth-year music industry studies student in the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences.
Trombone player and music credential student Raymond Fong also found this to be a time of adaptation particularly working with his classmate in a different time zone.
“It’s more stressful than being able to play music in person because everyone is on their own schedule. Especially for me and CJ (Woods), we had to work around being in different time zones (me being in California while CJ being in Texas). But at the same time, it gives us the opportunity to collaborate and make music together no matter where we are,” said Fong.
Giving students a performative experience in a remote environment was top of mind for Badua.
“Over the summer, I researched and learned various online music teaching software and curriculum my colleagues around the country were either doing or planning to do this fall. I also used my intuition of knowing what would motivate our students while enabling them to succeed no matter how different it would feel online. The key was finding the right kind of music that would allow students to thrive without being too demanding or easy,” said Badua.
Even how feedback was provided from the professor to the student was an adjustment. Real-time feedback, especially positive feedback, was something Badua missed experiencing. Now, Badua’s comments are via Zoom, but the reactions are just as meaningful.
“Anytime I stated a positive comment such as ‘Good job!’ or ‘Outstanding work’ to students online, I can see their energy raise through the brightness of their eyes or smiles on the Zoom screen.”
The show must go on. And it did. The “Salvation is Created” project allowed students to showcase all the music recording software they were using throughout the semester, including Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and Soundtrap.
Many students were familiar with audio recording, incorporating video added a new layer of learning. To help ensure students felt prepared for all of the audio and video recording’s digital aspects, Badua brought in professionals. The Arts Laureate, a company that works with the U.S. Marines band The President’s Own, gave a masterclass to the Wind Ensemble students to help them understand the new video recording technology.
“The masterclass helped reinforce a lot of the things we were learning about audio recording, but the visual elements were rather new and exciting to glean valuable information from,” said Badua.
The audio and video tools helped students identify with music differently. “This process has definably exposed me to the intricacies of the music industry and audio engineer field that I never thought I would get into,” said Fong.
Through it all — the pandemic, virtual learning, and uncertainty —music has played a significant role in finding solace for students.
“Being enrolled in music classes was the thing that continued to motivate me in virtual learning. Music classes also gave me a familiar place that I got to see my friends and feel comfortable,” said Fong.
“Music sort of helps me forget all my problems and motivates me to keep pursuing music as a career,” said Diaz.
Listening, playing, and performing music virtually is how we have adapted to a socially-distanced world. Still, it will be something faculty and students all look forward to experiencing in-person again, one day.
“It has made me appreciate the moment when we are going to be able to make music live together again. Although much of the music world has shifted to more virtual and online performances to be visible during this pandemic, nothing can replace the human connection we all feel from an amazing musical experience. I believe when we are back to normal, our concerts and live performances will be valued and cherished more than ever,” said Badua.
One thing is for sure; there were no flat moments in the student’s “Salvation is Created” performance.
Students interested in joining the CPP band program are encouraged to do so, regardless of experience or background. Email Professor Badua for information on how to participate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the “Salvation is Created” virtual performance here: https://youtu.be/TTQ7c_mNEME.