Delivering musical instruction during the 2020-21 school year

At CCHS, the music program has played a significant role in the district’s curriculum for decades. Its importance cannot be understated for students past and present. CCHS students from all walks of life have had the opportunity to pursue their musical interests and learn of music’s impact on today’s world.

CCHS music students performing for their families on Senior Night.
CCHS music students performing for their families on Senior Night.

But, during the 2020-21 school year, music classes have had to re-make how music instruction could be taught during a pandemic and adjust to the guidelines and protocols that followed. Between having to be six feet apart for orchestra students and twelve feet apart for chorus and band students, teaching virtually, practicing in small groups, virtual lessons, instrument problems, and the inability to have concerts, this year proved to be a challenge for everyone involved. 

“What I believe kids really love about music is being in a big group of people, surrounded by their friends and music, and playing every day.  But, unfortunately due to the hybrid schedule and the option to be virtual, a lot of the magic that happened in music class hasn’t happened.  Having to follow along with a computer screen probably meant you couldn’t hear and see everything.  It’s just not the same experience,” said Symphonic Orchestra Director and Music Department Chairman Peter Cannistraci. 

“I feel like despite all of the challenges, we still learned a lot.  The students learned to be more independent.  They’ve learned to play more independently and tune themselves independently.  Since we couldn’t have concerts this year, we did a Senior Night for our orchestra, band, and chorus students.  As a group, we got together in the gym and rehearsed for an hour, then the parents of our seniors came and we got to perform a song, and then we did a ceremony for our seniors where we handed out certificates and flowers to commemorate their musical journey,” he said.

This year, participating in a music class was not only tough for the students involved, but the teachers as well.  Even though there were many frustrating moments and difficulties along the way, every obstacle became a learning experience for everyone.  Being able to have a Senior Night was a great way to celebrate the seniors musical experience and show off their hard work and dedication.