Art and Music Classes Find Creative Ways to Stay Engaged

October 7, 2020

Last spring, teachers and students were thrown into distanced learning with little preparation as a placeholder for regular school. 

Now with over 90,000 total cases of coronavirus in Minnesota and no end in sight, distanced learning looks to be the star of the show.

This time around, teachers had more planning and HHS had more systems in place to make distanced learning more aligned with the usual curriculum. With the help of Canvas, Google meets, and online textbooks, many classes were able to be smoothly transitioned to the virtual world.

Some classes, however, are raising more questions.

How will music students synchronize their instruments or vocals over a Google meet? How will art students acquire the necessary supplies to complete their projects? If neither of these are possible what will the focus of the class be?

Ceramics students were able to pick up six pounds of clay and a tool box, and are expected to make their clay sculptures from home.

“On a typical day I say we go into the meeting for a check in and then I start working on my project,” said Andre Kristal, junior. “So far my first project went well.”

In past years, ceramics students had all the tools of the art department at their disposal. This year their means are limited, having only the supplies they picked up from the school. A popsicle stick, Ziploc bags, a sponge, and a plastic fork and knife.

“I think they gave us good supplies but even with those supplies it is still hard,” Kristal said. “Not having spinners has been a big setback.”

After students complete their projects, they have the option to bring it to the school to have it fired, but most students just reuse their clay.

On the other wing of the school is the music department. Band, choir and orchestra classes most definitely had to adapt in a big way to distanced learning.  With school being online for the foreseeable future, groups can not hold practices in the school.

Bel Canto, an all female choir, has shifted their focus from practicing the physical aspects of singing.

“Instead of actually singing we are focusing more on the understanding of music,” said Jasmine Johnson, senior. “We have also spent a lot of time working on projects that build sisterhood and community within the class.”

Bel Canto, among other choirs and music groups, likely won’t be having traditional concerts, rehearsals and practices. However, Bel Canto and Lean Mean Performance Machine (LMPM) have both been holding their own optional outdoor meetups.

“It has been tough not being able to get together and sing in unison, but when we get to our class meets the energy almost feels like it is back to normal,” said Johnson.

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