A New Way To “Meet” Through Their Craft: Band Through Bandwidth


Barker in drumline

Unsurprisingly, schools have been transferred to a completely new campus, one that’s entirely online. With this comes the newest form of high school musical programs— the requirement to play over Google Meet and Zoom.

While it may seem like an obvious turn of events, the concept of performing and practicing music over a video chat with 20 to 30 other people sounds more like a musician’s nightmare, not a suitable classroom environment. But, according to senior drum major and trumpet player Jaidelee Barker, it’s clear that this new form of class collaboration is less of a ‘sound vacuum nightmare’ and more of an opportunity to refine their skills in ways they never could have imagined before 2020.

Vanden High School Senior Jaideelee Barker, who’s drum major for the marching band and a trumpet player within the wind ensemble. As a drum major for the marching band, Barker is charged with leading the highest level of concert band in the school. She’s also been playing trumpet since 5th grade, dedicating herself to these musical passions for nearly eight years now. In these eight years (all throughout middle and high school) Barker has been able to attend class physically with her peers, receiving the usual high school band experience. Practice, performing, concerts— the works.

She really loves what she does; sitting in the giant band room, hearing the noises surround her daily as it all comes together to be more than just random sounds. Since distance learning comes with such a unique new way to learn, Barker described her challenges with the new format as “I think it’s like…being in person is such a different experience. You can play with each other, everybody is listening to everyone. Online you can’t just play everybody at once— its a really big challenge.”

So it would be safe to assume she hates class now right? The fun has been stripped away. The class is ruined because the best parts that make it so engaging are gone and replaced with blank screens and Google Meet waiting rooms.

But that isn’t true.

In actuality, this new homemade classroom away from the classroom has done wonders for Barker’s musical skills by giving her practice time she hadn’t previously had.

Before this change Barker, like everyone else in school in band, had to travel around the school with instrument in hand (or within the band room) for about six hours everyday. Then, not even counting the average after school time given to homework, clubs and possible jobs means she didn’t have much to give to her craft. By moving the class online and taking physical school out of the equation, her school days are significantly shorter— meaning more down time to spend practicing.

Despite the challenges of this whole experience and the mental strife of this stressful time, Barker says that distance learning hasn’t ruined music class for her. This has given her a new appreciation for music, she had said, and also gave her a found sense of calm knowing that even if everything changes music won’t.

And that’s simply music to the ears.