Making Music during the Pandemic


Landan Pierce, Staff Writer

With the 2020-2021 academic year unfolding, many musicians are left contemplating the adjustments caused as a result of COVID-19. Many districts are opting for remote learning, which typically results in the elimination of extra classes like band. West Washington County CUSD #10 has decided that the best option for students and staff members would be to return to school with certain safety precautions that would keep them protected. So, what limitations are being put in place during band class?

We have several practices in order to keep students safe. We are playing at the Community Club Park [a park near Okawville Junior/Senior High School] in order to be in an outdoor venue. This also allows us to easily space out while playing. When playing, we are wearing masks that allow for playing an instrument, but are designed to protect players as well. In addition, students also have coverings at the ends of their bells to help prevent air travel. Students are not sharing stands or other equipment, and equipment is disinfected in between classes,” said Mr. Reed Recker, the band director at Okawville Elementary School and Okawville Junior/Senior High School. Many locals are satisfied with these new safety precautions, as they prevent students from transmitting the virus to others.

The follow-up question to hearing some of these limitations might be, “Can band still be fun with these new precautions?” Some explain that it can, with new ideas being tossed around to keep things interesting. Buckets are now lining the walls of the band room. They are eventually going to be used as percussion instruments for the band to create music. Mr. Recker has also proposed the idea of using software to create original music. I asked Mr. Recker what his current goal was during the pandemic.

“My current goal during the pandemic is mainly to make music and enjoy making music. I hope to do some kind of performance this year, but what that might look like is yet to be determined,” explained Mr. Recker.

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a great amount of turmoil. Many young musicians are worried about what band class will look like and if it will still be worth participating in. Mr. Recker is doing his best to keep class entertaining until COVID disappears, and I applaud him for that.