Music classes getting back in tune post-COVID

Jonathan Melancon, Feature Reporter

Socially distanced bands and recorded homework assignments highlight some of the ways music students have had to adapt since the coronavirus outbreak.

UNF music classes have transitioned to hybrid teaching for the fall semester. Music professors will teach in-person and “Zoom” meetings. Associate Professor Clarence Hines, says that remote instruction methods from Spring 2020 will carry on through the fall.

Unlike traditional subjects, teaching music may require more of a hands-on instruction. This semester has had its share of difficulties, but the music department has provided methods for students to get a quality education while ensuring their safety. From remote recitals, hybrid instructions, and Zoom guest speakers, the music department has adjusted at a steady pace.  Spinnaker sat down with Clarence Hines, an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies in the Department of Music, to get an understanding how students are adjusting to their new learning environments.

Clarence Hines is an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies in UNF’s Department of Music. His primary teaching areas include jazz trombone performance, jazz arranging and jazz composition (Photo courtesy of Clarence Hines).

Music classes are following the guidelines for the CDC by limiting in-class instruction down to the bare minimum allowed.

“We have about 60% of our students coming in for classes,” said Clarence Hines. “We have made adjustments to ensure the safety of our students.”

According to Hines, students have been wearing personal protective equipment during classes.  Students that are using wind-based instruments are isolated further from within the classroom and are limited to how many people can be around them. Professor Hines states that this is a precaution to limit any air particles that may potentially carry the coronavirus. 

“We have students come in class for 30 minute blocks,” said Hines. “We have been doing this since March, so we knew what to expect going into the semester.”

Remote instructions have resulted in recordings for assignment submissions. Music teachers are requiring students to submit either audio or video submissions to receive credit. 

Graduating seniors must fulfill their graduating recitals remotely. In the past, seniors were required to perform exit recitals before graduating from UNF, but the coronavirus has forced students to fulfill this requirement remotely. According to Hines, students are expected to submit a video of themselves performing in front of an audience of their closest family and friends. This process was implemented in Spring 2020, but the music department is still exploring other options.

Professor Hines usually has guest speakers attend classes each semester from bands and halls of music around the country, but due to travel restrictions, guests have resorted to speaking over Zoom meetings. Hines says that the upside to the Zoom guest speakers is the decline in schedule conflicts.

Classes are still resuming without delays in the music department. According to Hines, teachers have taken the necessary steps to ensure that students can safely receive the education they want without compromising themselves or teachers. There may not be any hands-on application from big classrooms, but the school has provided the protective equipment in order to try to accommodate students that must appear in classrooms. As for seniors, the classroom recitals are on hold but remote concerts will not stop them from fulfilling graduation requirements.


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