Concert Band Beats Isolation

April 09, 2020 at 1:53 PM

When her Concert Band of 55 students from Year 7 to Year 13 went into isolation, Head of Music, Miss Mary Lin didn’t miss a beat. Used to gathering her musicians for rehearsal every Friday morning, she saw no reason to stop – despite her wind, brass and percussion sections now being spread across Auckland!

In a massive effort of co-ordination, she set about bringing them together in a virtual studio.

With many of the music competitions cancelled this year, Miss Lin knew she would have to think creatively to keep her young musicians motivated. As the Covid-19 situation gathered momentum, first the planned trip for the Premier Choir, Kentoris to sing in concert at Carnegie Hall, New York was cancelled. Then there was the disappointment of the end of term concert being postponed, the first-time trip to the Tauranga Jazz Festival being cancelled and the postponement of the opportunity for our ‘brass boys,’ who won the APO competition, to play for the opening ‘marching on’ for the Blues rugby game at Eden Park.

And then we went into Lockdown!

To fit in the co-curricular practice around the daily demands of Distance Learning, Miss Lin decided she needed to do something uplifting, that was not too hard to put together, so that the students could see that continuing on their individual practice does pay dividends - and can still be shared with an audience.

A relatively easy, popular piece of music was chosen, the ever-enduring ‘YMCA’ from the Village People, dating back to the 80’s! The students were given the instructions to practice, then record themselves playing ‘at a metronome,’ so everyone played at same speed. The students shared their video and audio to Miss Lin, and then it was down to work….

With each student recording only their own part, they had no inkling as to how the final product would look and sound. Almost 50 members of the Band submitted video and/or audio, and it took a long period of editing, between teaching commitments, for the final video to come together.

Miss Lin said, ‘I’m no expert with technology and there was no ‘virtual rehearsal’ product that worked - we tried Teams and Zoom without real success. What you see and hear is what you get! There was no ability to ‘autotune’ so I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. I just didn’t want our musicians to lose motivation and the positive energy we have together every Friday morning to work on our music.’

It’s certainly uplifting to hear and a lot of fun to watch!

Click here to see the Concert Band connect remotely to play as one!


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