Ensembles focus on recording amid COVID-19

Commercial music ensembles remain unable to perform live, but gain valuable recording experience.

Commercial+music+majors+Connor+Martin+and+Hope+Langston+perform+covers.+

Bree Mays // THE CHIMES [file]

Commercial music majors Connor Martin and Hope Langston perform covers.

Lauren McBride, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Commercial music ensembles are one of the unlucky groups on campus remaining online after phase three. After a full, exasperating year of online classes during COVID-19, ensembles continue to run into difficulties, yet obtain valuable learning experience they would not have otherwise had.

DEMO DOWNSIDES

Although the commercial music building and practice rooms are open, ensemble groups are still prohibited from meeting in person. Since the bands are unable to practice and perform together, they focused their talents on recording their pieces. Throughout the semester, the groups have been assembling, recording and mixing demo tracks to create the perfect tunes.

Near the beginning of the semester, the bands chose the songs that they wanted to work on. Following that, they played and recorded the song, and many put their own unique spin on it. 

According to sophomore commercial music major Conner Martin, the demo tracks can easily get messy, as there are a lot of small technical aspects to consider. Files can get sent in at different formats, arrangement will not line up and a single millisecond of a difference in the recordings can lead to glitches. Martin’s group had a miscommunication which led to tracks being sent in at three different tempos, something that would not have happened in person.

“The communication is key, and if you don’t communicate well, everything will just not work out,” said Kenta Dedachi, junior commercial music major. “It just gets really frustrating, and not fun.”

EDIFYING EXPERIENCE

According to Dedachi, many music spaces are not open, which adds another layer of difficulty to music classes in general. 

However, Martin notes that while the major tends to focus on performances normally, half of commercial music is intended to be geared toward recording. Through recording demo tracks and learning new softwares, students are getting valuable insight to an unseen half of the commercial music world. As COVID-19 continues to change the music industry and home recordings are becoming more popular, this gives students a leg up in that realm.

“We are gaining super, super valuable recording skills that we otherwise wouldn’t have necessarily been forced to sit down and learn,” Martin said. “It’s setting everyone in this major up to be much, much more successful in this industry.”

PERFORMANCE PINING

One major loss of the past few semesters has been the concerts that the ensembles put on. During a normal school year, they would spend their class time practicing and preparing for the performance.

“So much of being a band is playing together and learning how to bounce off each other and learning how to lock into the drum beat so you’re together,” said Elizabeth Meinders, sophomore commercial music major. “So, it’s definitely a challenge not being together.”

Although the chances of a concert happening at the end of this semester remain unknown, it is clear that students and professors are doing what they can to make it happen. The spring semester would normally have students in pop ensembles, but this semester, it was switched to worship ensembles. This was done so that if a concert is held, it can be considered a religious gathering with more freedom from COVID-19 guidelines.

“I just miss playing with people and making music with other people,” Dedachi said. “It’s very different when you’re doing it by yourself.”

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