Harlingen CISD music students continue to improve their artistic skills through one-on-one lessons with their instructors.
HCISD began its School@Home program last month while students remain home until further notice. Schools@Home assignments are completed either through online lessons or through offline packets.
Band and choir students participating in the online School@Home program have been eager to meet one-on-one with their teachers via Zoom, a video messaging platform that allows teachers to provide instruction.
On Thursday, high school and middle school students across all campuses utilized Zoom to further develop their voice and instrument playing abilities.
Benjamin Jaso, a saxophone player in the Harlingen High School honors band, honors jazz ensemble, and the principal saxophonist in the symphony orchestra, was excited to attend his Zoom lesson. His band instructor, Manuel Hernandez showed him different techniques to improve his saxophone playing abilities.
Hernandez also demonstrated with a saxophone over the video chat.
“I like that we can still interact with our teacher,” Jaso, a talented musician, explained. “He’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had and to be able to get tips from him has been helpful. We’re becoming better musicians, and we get to learn a lot even though we’re isolated at home. We’re still learning.”
Along with the one-on-one lessons, Jaso and his classmates also meet as a saxophone section to discuss music, but they also get to have some fun aside from the lessons.
“It’s been really fun because we all still get to interact,” Jaso said of the Zoom meetings with classmates and instructors. “We get to do a lot of fun stuff. We’ve gotten to show our pets, and show what other things we’re doing throughout the day.”
Last week, students showed their classmates and instructor their favorite hobbies.
This week, they will have a competition to see who can play a piece of music best. Hernandez plans to order a pizza for the winner, which will be delivered to the student’s house.
“I get to see a different side of students,” said Hernandez. “Usually we have these lessons in our band office, but this has allowed us to see our students in their home environment.”
Choir students have also been having individualized learning opportunities. Meeting one-on-one has allowed the choir students to improve their singing even more.
Michelle Andrade, a Harlingen High School South choir student, performed two musical pieces with the help and guidance of her instructor Sylvia Flores.
“I find it very convenient. Although we’re dealing with a different situation right now since we have to be home, we are still able to connect with our teachers,” Andrade said.
Flores also agrees she has been able to connect with her students on a personal level since the School@Home program allows more one-on-one lesson opportunities throughout the week.
“It’s nice to be able to connect with them,” Flores said. “Getting to talk to them and work with them on a more personal level has been nice.”
They both agree that music has gotten them through having to stay home.
“It’s definitely helped me in many ways,” Andrade said. “ I have a more focused mindset while completing my work. I also use music as an escape, and I like to go into my own little world, and sometimes write music of my own.”
HCISD’s School@Home program will continue throughout the month of April.