Despite obstacles created by the pandemic, performance arts students are optimistic going into the spring semester as professors adjust to online learning.
The performing arts rely on community spaces – especially studios, classrooms and theaters. With social distancing guidelines, these spaces remain limited, even as many classes have shifted to remote learning for the third semester in a row.
David Green, a UNC junior studying music, cherishes the in-person ensemble classes he was able to take during pre-pandemic times.
“I had to go out of my way to find classes that I could actually take for my requirements,” Green said. “Getting ready for a concert and preparing for a concert is what the class is really all about, so while you’re getting the credit for it, you’re really not getting the full experience."
Madeline Litty, a first-year drama student at UNC, felt disappointed by the pandemic putting a pause on in-person interaction in her classes.
“I’m a bit of a worrier,” Litty said. “It’s frustrating for me, and I’m sure for a lot of people in the dramatic arts major. Obviously, a core part of education as an actor is being in the space and acting and actually putting shows on.”
Green explained that professors have been forced to alter course material because it's unsafe to perform. He is taking Music 111 this semester, which is typically a group voice lesson.
“Music 111 is usually something collaborative, but this semester my teacher is teaching an improvisation class instead,” Green said. “And it’s not the same thing, but she’s making adjustments so we can still have a productive semester.”
New skills develop as professors adapt to online learning. For example, music majors rely on splicing together two separate recordings to form digital duets.