▶️ Local music students become virtual virtuosos amid COVID closure

By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

From learning together in a band hall to playing an instrument solo at home, practicing virtually is a whole new world for student musicians and their teachers.

 As the Sisters Middle and High School Director of Bands, Tyler Cranor teaches between seven and 10 live music classes a week.

 “I am teaching five music classes, four ensembles,” Cranor said.

 He’s used to teaching his 100 middle and high school students in-person, in group settings.

But, like other teachers, Cranor has had to adjust to virtual learning.

“The first class of every week we do a Zoom meeting and we talk about what the playing assignments are for the week,” Cranor said. “And then typically the last class of the week we’ll do another Zoom meeting where I’ll have a few students perform and I will give them a little mini lesson while the rest of the class listens in. And in between I give them guidance on what to practice, how to practice.”

 Of course, as you’d expect, teaching music to students through a computer screen comes with its share of challenges.

 “The most difficult part is that it is completely the opposite of my actual job in that you cannot play together,” Cranor said.

 “It’s definitely different,” said Sisters High School Senior Nathaniel Hicks. “I’m more of an in-person learner.”

 “I feel like as far as music goes, it’s really hard to continue being great when you’re not getting that time in the room with all the other musicians and with your conductor,” fellow Sisters High School senior Bryanna Marlatt said.

 Eventually, Cranor says, this will all be over.

 And like a true band director, he’s urging students to continue playing when they can.

 “If you can, spend more time practicing,” Cranor said. “Do it to just try and get out of it what you can, then when we all come back together, we’re going to be better for it.”

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