Music despite distance

How students are continuing to make music at home through private lessons


and used with the permission by Louisa Hagen

Due to social distancing, music students at home have been doing private lessons remotely at home. Louisa Hagen, freshman, prepares to video chat with her teacher through Zoom right before her private lesson.

By Jane Yu, Lake Zurich High School

The music never stops, even when concerts, shows, and performances do. Many students are keeping up with their private lessons at home by using various platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom to interact with their teachers.

“I think that especially during this time when we’re not singing in choir or rehearsal everyday, private lessons are really important to maintain, or at least a practice schedule, so that we don’t fall out of practice,” Alina Malin, junior soprano, said.

Malin, along with many others, have continued to keep in touch with their instructors and their music. However, she admits “it’s not easy” to take lessons at home without in-person interaction. Patrick Thornton, senior percussionist, has had his own share of issues with online lessons.

“Obviously, I feel that video chatting instead of actual person-to-person interaction is a little disappointing: I can’t help but think I’m missing something when my teacher has to tell me what to do physically rather than show me at the moment,” Thornton said. “The phone-call-like audio quality is always a big con, though.”

Additionally, “online lessons aren’t as productive,”  Anubhav Nigam, freshman saxophonist, said. While “I can still have lessons,” the video quality can be “laggy” and “[my teacher and I] cannot play at the same time.”

For other students, the issue is motivation. As students are practicing at home, many are losing their motivation and worry about practicing by themselves.

“I’m worried that I might lose the motivation to keep practicing because it can seem like I have nothing to practice for,” Louisa Hagen, freshman cellist, said.

However, while students are experiencing many difficulties at home, there are some positive aspects of online lessons.

“I’ve definitely been practicing more because I’ve had a lot more time on my hands,” Hagen said. “There’s not much setup needed and I can do it in my practice space [at home].”

Thornton also agrees because he “used to have to drive 70 minutes there and back to a lesson” but now he can “take [lessons] anytime, anywhere,” reducing his transportation time to and from lessons and increasing his time to practice.

With quarantine affecting students’ ability to practice and receive lessons, one thing that LZ musicians can agree on is that ensemble time cannot be replaced.

“[What] I miss most [is] getting to sing with all of my friends in classes during the day. A lot of us have been singing together for five or six years in some capacity and it’s really sad for the seniors who are leaving,” Malin said. “Music and choirs have always been among my favorite classes and I miss the fun and sense of satisfaction I got from getting to make incredible music.”

This story was originally published on Bear Facts on May 18, 2020.