Remote Learning Brings New Changes to the WTMS Band Program

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Mr. Garonzik directing the band during the 2019 Winter Concert. Although it will look different, students will still be presenting holiday favorites through recorded performances this year.

The WTMS band under Mr. Garonzik’s leadership is still playing actively virtually during this 2020 semester in order to build love for music in WTMS students.

Garonzik expects somewhere between 55 and 70 in band depending on who joins as an after school activity.  He has set up Google Drive folders including method books and performance music students can access anytime to practice their music. Students also have access to a metronome to pace themselves and stay on beat when practicing. 

 “Everything I provide for my students is accessible … and organized for them to be able to maneuver easily,” said Garonzik.

Garonzik is excited about the opportunity to lead a large ensemble like exists this year, but he and students both had concerns about band in the remote setting.  The teacher’s concern was mainly about internet connectivity and when students would drop from the call due to poor internet connectivity. The students main concern was how were they going to play through a video when quality isn’t always clear. Both sides have had to figure this out as the semester has progressed.

“Once everyone got into their routine and figured out how to make it work,” said Garonzik, “I think the reaction turned into a more positive feeling and sense of comfort knowing how to go about it.”

The music selection for this year will consist of modern songs from some movies or tv shows with some traditional  pieces that all students in band should play at some point. Garonzik chose to focus on popular music because there are new 7th graders in band this year, and he did not know what level of skill they possessed. 

As of now performances are going to be remote, students who play the same instruments are put in groups. They will play their part and record themselves and send it in to Garonzik. The teacher will edit audio for clear sound and put the pieces of music together to create a completed song. According to Garonzik, It’s a” trial and error” type of performance for the beginning, but he believes that it will lead to a successful concert overall. 

“Before going remote last Spring, I have had experience teaching private trumpet lessons virtually around the world,” said Garonzik. The multi-national championship winning band that I play in also has made tons of virtual videos during quarantine so I have a lot of experience playing virtually as well!”