By Johnny Johnson, Music Director
We’re playing! After lots of tech set up and troubleshooting, everyone is now up and running in our online music platforms: SmartMusic and MusicFirst. We’re so grateful to AUHSD for paying for a district-wide subscription to the MusicFirst platform for all eight vocal and instrumental music programs as well as a premium subscription to SmartMusic for every instrumental music student in the district.
MusicFirst is a rich online environment that we’ve just begun to explore, with ready-made lessons in technique development, instrument care and maintenance, basic music theory, basic composition, ear training, sight reading, and improvisation.
The SmartMusic platform allows us all to play “together” (each student playing at home along with an accompaniment recording) and with their premium subscription, students can freely roam the site for solo repertoire and chamber music selections as well as exercises at all levels of difficulty.
For now, Symphonic Band and Concert Band have concentrated our efforts on these two platforms, while the Orchestra has begun on the other end of the spectrum with a recording project for the full group. Eventually, we will all have worked in each of the areas of focus in this distance learning environment: technique development, a solo project, a chamber music project, and a large group recording project. Whew! That’s ambitious. But better to strive and not quite make it than to slide into complacency and disconnection.
A special-shout out to the students on our Instrumental Music Council for really stepping up to plan new activities this year. We’re going to let them tell you about a few of them.
New Student-Run Website
By Amrita Malhotra, Co-Vice President (Band)
We’ve been developing a new Campo Instrumental Music website which can be accessed by both music students and parents. On the site, there are important updates about the program, resources for every instrument, a place for students to share music and form chamber groups with each other, information about Campo music service clubs and local youth bands/orchestras, and more. There is also a page for our music tutors who will soon be giving lessons to elementary/middle schoolers (see more below). The link to the website is campoinstrumentalmusic.org.
Campo Students to Offer Tutoring to Younger Musicians
By Julianna Meneses, Co-President (Orchestra)
Through Zoom and/or Google Hangouts, we would like to provide free music lessons to elementary and middle school music students in the Lamorinda area. We have a group of volunteers who are happy to teach and eager to share the gift of music. You can meet each one of them on our website at campoinstrumentalmusic.org. At the very bottom of the page, there’s an easy form to fill out and sign up for a lesson.
New Buddy System
By Connor Johnson, Co-President (Band)
We’ve begun to pioneer a new buddy system between our new music students and experienced veterans. During Covid we know it’s hard for kids to get that social contact with their colleagues within our music program, so starting this year, each freshman and new student will be paired up with an older buddy as a sort of mentor for Campo music. These buddies won’t necessarily be coordinated by instrument, as the goal of the buddy system is more to familiarize the younger buddies with the mechanics of music at Campo. Each younger buddy will fill out a short survey bio, in which the upperclassmen will be able to pick their buddy from. However, this will not be anything that is required to happen during school, because there are many more upperclassmen than new students. This will be our first big step towards building a better community within our program during distance learning.