Delta Music School thrives despite pandemic

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Despite the obstacles, online education has helped the school develop a plethora of resources and records that can be used even after the pandemic has passed.

While it took a lot of planning and adjustment along the way, the Delta Community Music School has successfully hosted their South Delta Jazz Festival both virtually and in person this year.

With the first week of the festival and workshops being strictly online, some participating students then performed for a camera inside the beautifully restored Southlands Red Barn in the second and third weeks.

“We find that when you’re teaching music lessons, there has to be that element of performance, because that’s kind of the reason why we learn songs, learn music – you want to share it, you want to play it. … So, just having music lessons, without a performance, it’s kind of missing something, isn’t it? Says Stephen Robb, Music Director of Delta Community Music School.

Compared to their usual week-long festival and workshop in July, the school postponed it to August of this year as they needed a larger space to accommodate COVID-19 precautions during their two weeks of in-person performances.

Throughout the pandemic, the music school has been mostly online, with the exception of some classes offered in studios specially prepared for COVID.

“Fortunately, we have large studios that have windows. So we installed fans and ran in-person classes in the winter with the windows open, the fans on, and the HEPA filters on. It was a bit cold and uncomfortable for the few people doing stuff in person, ”Robb said with a chuckle.

But most of the instructors taught online and continued to teach online only.

Robb anticipates the school will continue in an online direction for now, but says he and the board have regular COVID-19 meetings every two weeks to assess and reassess the ongoing situation.

“For many students, [being online] worked great I have to say. We’ve had real success that way… So it’s an encouragement that the technology is working. We’ve had to adjust our teaching methods, and there’s a lot more planning going on doing anything online, [compared to] when the person is sitting next to you or in front of you, ”says Robb.

Despite the obstacles, online education has helped the school develop a plethora of resources and records that can be used even after the pandemic has passed.

To watch some of the South Delta Jazz Festival performances this fall, keep an eye out on the Delta Community Music School YouTube channel.

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