By Julia Pearl | Reporter
With in-person rehearsals now a possibility, Baylor’s music students are excited to be able to perform again, even if their audience is on the other side of a computer screen.
Music students were unable to have larger in-person rehearsals at the beginning of this semester. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the School of Music has developed a unique plan to continue rehearsals, specifically for ensembles and larger performing groups. Within the next three weeks, the School of Music has upwards of 20 performances.
Killeen senior Alex Davies, a choral student, described the precautions music students have to take in order to continue rehearsing. Davies said that the biggest differences can be seen in the required use of specialized masks and restrictions on rehearsal times.
“I have weekly lessons with my voice teacher, but they’re 30 minutes instead of an hour,” Davies said. “You can only be inside of a room for 30 minutes at a time if we’re singing. I have one 30-minute lesson in person, and then I have a 30-minute rehearsal with my pianist.”
While solo rehearsals are easier to navigate, Alex Parker, director of jazz studies, said that ensemble rehearsal is more challenging.
“It’s way different than it used to be,” Parker said. “We’re only allowed to play in a room for 30 minutes at a time before we have to leave the room because aerosols are produced when we play our instruments.”
Parker said that preparing for the upcoming performances has been an obstacle because of the restrictions caused students to practice divided up by instruments before rehearsing as a group.
“For all of our rehearsals we do a 30 minute sectional in a different room,” Parker said. “Then, we come together for 30 minutes and have a rehearsal as a full ensemble. Other ensembles that have a longer rehearsal time are doing 30 minute rehearsals, leaving the room for 20 minutes, then coming back in the room for 30 more minutes to finish up the rehearsal. It’s a strange time, and it’s a lot less rehearsal time than we normally have.”
Davies said that it has been frustrating to miss out on group retreats, traveling to performances and the impact of an in-person audience.
“Ultimately, I think having an audience, there is just a little more special just because you get a live reaction,” Davies said. “If something is funny, people laugh. If something is really intense, you can feel the tension in the audience, but we don’t get to have that. Sometimes we feel like ‘What’s the point?’ We work with the music every single day. Our directors hear the music every single day, so they know what it’s supposed to sound like, so it’s really hard to stay motivated.”
Despite these challenges Davies said she is glad that music students have still been granted the opportunity to practice and perform during the pandemic.
“You have to take what you can get. When this first started happening, we thought that we were going to go to school and not do choir, band or orchestra,” she said. “We’re doing it, and that’s really, really great.”