A&M-Commerce Band Program Amid the Pandemic

Kirsten Griffin, Staff Reporter

Covid-19 has affected the performing arts center in various ways. 

Having activities that are meant to be done in person, the performing arts program has adapted and persevered in activities through this pandemic so far, while

also following Covid-19 protocols.

Bandmates are put under unusual circumstances this year. Having to be apart from an ensemble of musicians that are usually together, it’s fairly difficult to maintain or keep relationships the same. Isaiah Scott, a trumpet player in the Texas A&M University-Commerce band shared what the band is going through during these times.

“With the cancellation of the in-person marching band, we were not able to meet the section/studio like we usually do. Making new friends has been especially tough,” Scott said.

Practicing seems to have been forced to be more on the backburner. Since They are not able to have face-to-face classes, teachers tend to move faster in providing a decent amount of schoolwork. In turn, that means less time for band members to practice their music and enhance their skills.

“My personal practice has become more focused and intentional due to the increase in homework provided by professors. The more homework, the less time I have to devote to my instrument and major,” Scott said.

Since there are so many members in the band and social distancing must be enforced, the university has taken the precaution of not having concerts at this time.

“There are no in-person shows or concerts taking place for our university. However, the department will be posting video recordings of the ensemble performing pieces from the fall semester,” Scott said.

During concert ensembles, the bandmates prepare earlier than usual to assure everything runs smoothly. Usually, this is a fairly quick process to be on and off the stage, but there’s too much risk involved. There’s also a wait time after reversing a [stage] set up to prevent groups from passing each other.

“The ensembles have pushed the call times earlier due to the requirement of more time in advance to set up equipment,” Scott said.

During these times, meeting with band members in a safe manner is top priority. The band has adapted to unusual practices, but they make it work.

“Masks are expected to be on when not playing those same wind instruments at that moment. We are only allowed to rehearse for 30-minute segments and are required to switch rooms,” Scott said.

It’s tough to switch to online meetings when it comes to music because it must be heard in person if more than one person is involved, so the band is forced to meet physically throughout the week to practice as much as they can while also being as safe as possible.

“Our concert ensembles meet two to three times a week depending on which band you are placed in,” Scott said.

Scott’s motivation remains strong during these times. Although he can’t play music with his band members very often, he can practice a lot on his own to be prepared for when he actually meets up with them.

“My motivation to be ready for every session has only heightened. Individual preparation has to be much higher and better so that time is not wasted,” Scott said.