Rock Island orchestra department teaches music from home

Local News

Orchestra class looks different for Rock Island-Milan School District students this school year. As everyone adjusts to remote learning, Matthew Manweiler, one of the district’s orchestra teachers, is finding ways to adapt.

“We’ve taken our orchestra curriculum and we’ve found highlights of it between our beginners up to our third-year players, and we’ve recorded a set of YouTube videos highlighting every spot along that way,” he said.

The students use these videos for daily practice, and the class meets together two times a week over video calls. He says audio delays make it hard to play together, but he is still able to teach in real time.

“I’ll actually have the students mute their microphones but leave their video on, and I’ll play something and they’ll play it back or they will play it with me,” he said. “I can get that visual feedback from what they are doing, but their sound is not going to be super delayed as they are playing.”

Madison Penn, a teacher at the beginner level for the district, said although they cannot create music together, they can help the students be creative.

“It’s difficult to play together, using these kinds of websites, but also through this, we are able to work with kids on recording music, making beats and being creative,” she said.

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