Ever wonder what it’s like to be a vocal student at Canterbury? Ever wonder how the heck they sing in the midst of a pandemic? Read your fellow classmate’s challenges, emotions, and upsides when going through this uneasy time, along with a teacher’s point of view.
Start by taking a look into Anna Michelin's grade 11 singing experience so far. Anna explains that she misses the connection of her vocal class with only hearing and seeing half of them in person. As for the work, it has an independent aspect of it, and she likes to be able to wake up and not have to do work till 9am. Even though she goes in and only sees a few of her friends, Anna does find it more organized in the classroom, having their assigned seats and with the quadmester time crunch, she says that they’ve started stretching in class.
Here’s what Anna’s face-to-face lessons look like. Anna and her teacher, after attempting online lessons with difficulties, now have switched to face-to-face. Anna goes into her personal lesson, sits behind a Plexiglass germ shield and has her teacher on the piano on the other side, no masks. It works.
Practicing from home, however, is less gratifiying.
“I honestly cannot think of something that makes me like it better at all," is what grade 12 student, Mallory Richardson, has to say about online vs in-person singing.
Mallory explains how much the environment affects her overall self-confidence and mindset in the world of singing. Mallory is thankful for the distanced room she has from the rest of the house, but still says she wishes that her family could leave so that she can siren alone.
I honestly cannot think of something that makes me like it better at all”
It’s easier to do vocal assignments from home with the ability to do them over again, which is a big upside when you’re an anxious performer; Mallory finds it very helpful that she can record until satisfied.
Mallory says the first word that she thinks of when thinking about singing in Covid is “sadness," because the loss of the vocal retreat, performing on stage, and having that sense of family.
Stephanie Fukumoto, my vocal coach, says: “Not everyone can make the adjustments that they need to, so it’s a little bit harder for me to tell exactly the quality of their voice." She explains that she’s thankful she had most of her students before the quarantine, making it easier to coach them since she already knows their real voice.
Stephanie then speaks on to say that some of her students are more outgoing because there’s a screen between them, while some are less connected and less able to express themselves due to the screen, but it depends largely on who the individual is.
I asked: What’s one word to describe pandemic singing for you? She responded “manageable,” which may be hard to believe, but in reality the truth.