With the current COVID-19 pandemic, my youth orchestra program has been severely affected. Our normal concert and rehearsal schedule ended after Spring Break in mid-March. For the rehearsal period from April through to June, we kept going virtually with moving rehearsals and meetings with students to the Zoom platform.  The new buzz words for me this term are “asynchronous learning”, new software experiences with “Zoom”, “Loom”, “loopback” and other devices to integrate external mics and various apps together into the whole new online learning experience.  
My main project with Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra was this virtual orchestra version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.  I will be sharing all the materials necessary to do this and put it together on my site here over the next few weeks.   Watch the video below.

The Ode to Joy Project 

I created the base parts first through public domain parts available at IMSLP.  I customized them to reflect the recording I would be doing. 

I then created bedding tracks and additional parts in Finale and Logic Pro X.  These were used to help the musicians learn the parts and eventually record them. 

Links to the files needed to create your own Ode to Joy Project

I was interviewed by Steve Dotto earlier this year about the transition to online teaching that many of us private music teachers have been working through for the past few months. It certainly has been an interesting time with challenges. I am happy to report though that most of my students have made the transition to online learning, and for the vast majority of my students, their musical skills and understanding have kept growing and maturing over the past few months.

Indeed for those that have the means and access to technology, online learning is not a hindrance; rather it has proven to be quite the opposite.