New York choir teacher uses technology to outwit Covid and cuts      

A student working with Soundtrap

Bronx teacher D Travis Washington, who teaches choir and the Young Vocal Scholars Programme in a school in New York, says seeking ways around lockdown learning has opened up new concepts in music education using Soundtrap technology.

‘When Covid hit and we couldn’t continue with the traditional choir program, my school looked for remote solutions,’ he wrote in an article for edCircuit. ‘Soundtrap was exactly what we needed. We began conducting Young Vocal Scholars choir sessions remotely through Soundtrap and filled our extra Soundtrap seats with students from the District 8 Choir who weren’t being served music at all, doing similar projects that we had been creating previously in my classes. It was incredible to suddenly recognise that there were far more students interested in music who could connect via their laptops and tablets at home.’

According to Washington, the online environment allowed more students to get deeper into music learning than was possible in school. ‘Quarantine was an advantage in disguise as we were able to get much deeper into our music engagement through Soundtrap than what normal in-class time would typically allow,’ he wrote. ‘In the past, I saw most kids once a week, and the most advanced kids three or four times a week for 45 minutes. But now, students became self-motivated and had access to a software they loved, so they just kept creating over the summer, doing far more hours of work than they did during the regular school year. Most kids avoid logging into anything that resembles school, but these students were motivated and excited to learn.’

As education cuts become inevitable as governments recover from the economic hit of the pandemic, D Travis Washington believes the lower cost and wider reach of remote music learning may offer a lifeline to teachers and students.

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