US students continue to make music together during KingIsHome


John Russell '22 and Bryce Heaton '23 are making music together, along with several other members of the US Band, while practicing social distancing. Students are working on the Acapella App, where they can multi-video track themselves. Students can record up to nine tracks and then share and collaborate with others. Garrett Mendez, Director of Instrumental Music, adds, "This was our first attempt on a Bach chorale. In our next version, we will share the song so we can have a different person on each screen. We are learning how to collaborate and make music with a large band when we can't all be together."

As KingIsHome settled in, it was unclear how musical groups such as our US band would be able to function. While Zoom can accommodate most classes well, an entire band trying to play at the same time doesn't work quite right. Despite these challenging circumstances, Mr. Mendez and Dr. Martino, Chair of Performing Arts, came up with creative ways to engage students musically.

John comments, "We've already tried audio layering with Soundtrap; making scores with Noteflight; and even a Disney soundtrack version of a 'March Madness' bracket. Recently, Mr. Mendez had us use the Acapella app, which lets you record yourself playing different parts of one musical piece. Mr. Mendez had each of us try this on a Bach chorale we use as a warmup, and it worked really well. With all the videos online of professional orchestras trying to do split panel video layering, it was exciting to have the chance to try it ourselves. 

The changes to our usual rhythm can be jarring, but I have no doubt that Mr. Mendez and Dr. Martino will help us keep our lives full of music in new and exciting ways, no matter where we are."