As a result of all Virginia schools closing due to the COVID-19 crisis, teachers and students are having to think of new, innovative ways to stay connected with lesson plans during this time. This includes all of our Dreamers and staff at our five An Achievable Dream campuses. Although this time is challenging for all, the stories of perseverance by our students and how our teachers and staff go above and beyond to stay connected with them is truly inspiring.
One of the amazing ways that we’ve seen our Dreamers continue their learning during this time is at An Achievable Dream Middle & High School where band director, Mr. Davis, continues to have virtual lessons with band students so that they can continue sharpening their skills while at home.
Upon initially hearing about the school closure, Mr. Davis and students in the band were disappointed and upset to know that all of their performances for the remainder of the year had been canceled, including the Concert State Assessment which was canceled the day before it was to take place.
“The kids were heartbroken because we had all worked so hard to prepare for the State Assessment. It was my responsibility to continue to encourage them and let them know that this was not the end, and that we would work even harder to prepare for next years’ State Assessment,” Mr. Davis said.
The next reaction is one that we all can relate to during this time, what would happen next? What could the band students do while not being in school to continue to learn and practice their instruments with the guidance of their teacher? That’s when Mr. Davis implemented the idea of having a virtual band class with his students and their instruments.
“I had a talk with my students and we all decided to keep the class as normal as possible during this time. I did not want the kids to lose any musical techniques that they had learned so far. I really wanted them to keep playing during this time so that when school is re-opened the band program will not be behind.”
In the virtual band lessons, the students are tasked with learning a brand new scale or reviewing older scales on a weekly basis. Students also have to complete music exercises in their method books. Mr. Davis then provides a video lesson for the students in conjunction with the method book so that they can better understand the musical techniques that are being taught.
“I try to motivate my students by implementing fun ways for them to learn their scales and musical techniques. In the future I will task the kids to have Zoom sectional practices to make sure they are still playing as a section together so that we can continue to grow as a band,” Davis said.
Although this is a difficult time for so many, including our Dreamers and their families, seeing our teachers continuing to interact with their students even while being at home and seeing our students continuing to push themselves to learn is truly inspiring. We can all take this lesson and use it as motivation to continue accomplishing our own personal goals during this time!
“This time has shown me how resilient my band students are and how they continue to become better musicians on their own,” Davis shared. “I am truly thankful for my students and if this experience has shown me anything, it’s to not take what we do in the classroom for granted once we do return.”