Friday, September 29, 2023

Marching band changes during the pandemic


Marching bands across the country, a few of them anyway, continue to perform, but drastic modifications have been taken to prevent the aerosol spread of Covid-19, to the dismay of musicians and educators, The New York Times reports.

Modification include covering the bells of brass instruments with pantyhose, wrapping flutes and clarinets in plastic bags, and substituting music theory or history for band classes or other music performance classes.

But in many cases, ensemble music performances have been cancelled. And that is creating somewhat of a void in the educational trajectory of many students.

“In the middle of this summer, I started playing my instrument alone and sat there crying because I was just so upset,” the Times quoted one college band student as saying. “Making music with other people is part of why I do it.”

Studies are being conducted in an attempt to identify the best practices for ensemble music rehearsal, but one thing has become abundantly clear: Zoom and other video chat platforms don’t cut it because of the noticeable lag between the time someone plays a note and the others hear it.

One ongoing study is hosted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which is a professional group that works closely with state high school associations, many of which sponsor music activities, such as marching band or solo and ensemble contests.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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