Carlmont music program adapts to distance learning


Thomas Banner-Haimes

A computer open to Zoom and Soundtrap with sheet music and a trombone next to it.

Distance learning has caused drastic changes to most classes, and Carlmont music classes are no exception. As Carlmont shifted to online learning, the music program had to quickly adapt.  

Music groups don’t have the ability to meet and play together as they usually would; they often rely on playing together in order to perfect their balance. On top of that, playing music, especially singing, can increase the risk of spreading COVID-19. The Carlmont choir and band have started using Soundtrap to record music separately and put it into collaboration projects. The band also uses Smart Music to view the sheet music for their pieces.

Genevieve Tep is the choir teacher at Carlmont. She noted that the inability to make music in person has hindered the Carlmont music programs.

“That interpersonal stuff is so paramount to what we do. To have it missing is just like having the rug pulled out from underneath us,” Tep said.

Creating harmony with other musicians is essential. Although this aspect is missing from the Carlmont music groups, students such as Liem Fitterer, a symphonic band musician, can still find positives to their difficult situation.

“Recording alone allows me to re-record until I feel confident about my piece,” Fitterer said.

Students are typically allowed to submit their recordings using their student ID numbers instead of their names, granting a level of anonymity. Alongside that, recording on separate tracks enables teachers to hear more from individual students and improve their skills.

“By the second week of school [in previous years], there’s no way I have heard every single choir kid singing, but by the second week of school this year, I’d heard recordings of every single one of them singing,” Tep said.

Participants in the music programs have learned that despite the circumstances, there can be benefits found for the music program.

“Although this time has been really difficult for us, I think we’ll get a lot of experience out of this. I really think this could help us grow not only individually, but as a band,” Fitterer said.