Through preparation and perseverance, the music department of Slippery Rock University is back and eager to start making music for all to enjoy again.
Fortunately, the faculty of the music department have been preparing to make this fall semester as meaningful and educational as possible, while still following all precautions and safety measurements put in place.
The multi-modal and online preparations in the music department cover features that a normal semester would. Of course, not everything can be the way a normal semester would operate, but the department is providing as close of a normal experience as possible.
David Glover, a professor in the music department, shared his experiences and how he is conducting his classes so far this semester.
According to Glover, he has had success transitioning his classes and private lessons to either multi-modal or online delivery. All his private lessons are still being offered in a multi-modal format while his lecture classes are being taught online.
Students and staff members of the music department have been working tenaciously to follow all the necessary safety precautions, such as always wearing masks when possible, rehearsing outside, socially distancing, and meeting completely online as needed.
The department also plans on presenting recorded concerts online so that students can still perform while audiences are still able to view and appreciate music.
“One of the biggest difficulties this semester is dealing with the repercussions left over from the spring,” Glover said. “We have spent a lot of time collecting all the necessary materials and equipment from the spring and resetting everything for this semester.”
Glover also reported that everything the music department is doing this semester would not be possible without the willingness to learn and the sacrifices of the students involved, but the department of music is making this semester as meaningful as possible for the music students on and off campus.
Another major aspect of the music department that has faced the impact of the pandemic, is the community outreach possibilities that are offered through the department. Typically, the music department engages with the community through different concerts, workshops, classes, and different programs offered to community members of all ages. Now in the music department, student and faculty can present these opportunities online through different modes of communication as well as a surplus of creativity.
Cassandra Eisenreich is a professor in the music department as well as the driving force behind the outstanding community engagement programs such as The Slippery Rock University Early Childhood and Elementary Music Community Engagement Initiative.
According to Eisenreich, her students and her first started transitioning the usual in person community engagement online starting in the spring. Since then, they have been presenting most of the usual events and programs online and reaping many positive results.
Specifically, Eisenreich and her students have been reaching out to kids who cannot always get the typical interaction with music, especially during the pandemic. This is accomplished by pairing participating children with Slippery Rock students in the Early Childhood and Elementary Music Community Engagement Initiative.
These Slippery Rock students along with Eisenreich engage the children with music by creating new songs, teaching lessons, and providing positive feedback. Interactivity between the Slippery Rock students and the children is vital and creating these online video sessions. These different events and programs are live streamed through Facebook and YouTube so that children can partake in the events with their families.
Additionally, the Slippery Rock students find these programs and events very useful and educational.
“Being involved in the early childhood engagement initiative has changed my perspective on music education and my life for the better”, said senior music education and flute double major Kalista Heidkamp.
“Though we can’t interact with the students in person, it is still a blast getting to see their answers and comments pop up on a live stream,” junior music education major Jake Aufman
The students are also thankful for the work Eisenreich put in to organizing these online live streams.
“Dr. Eisenreich literally does everything for us to ensure that we’re given as many opportunities as possible to learn and grow,” said Isaiah Geenawalt, a sophomore music education major and member of the Slippery Rock University Early Childhood and Elementary Music Community Engagement Initiative.
Eisenreich is also satisfied with the results of the online community engagement events as well as being pleased with the whole music department.
“The music department is still running and providing culture for students and the community,” said Eisenreich. “The fire of music is still blazing.”
Even though this is not the semester the music department at Slippery Rock University planned on, they are still making sure to create the most value for their students through both the multi-modal and online classes as well as the community engagement offered. Together, they have proved that music is a major part of the community and that in troubling times like this, music is often needed the most.