Singing While Signed On: How Choir Has Adjusted To Online Learning


A screenshot of the opening number of the Choir’s Spring Concert last year. This song was performed by the Festival Choir in isolation and uploaded onto YouTube.

Julia Frank and Kristen Sheng

In the past year, how we participate in school has changed dramatically. Our math lectures are now pre-recorded videos, and our science labs are no longer hands-on. But how do you learn the arts through a screen? Fairview choirs have created a whole new arrangement. 


“Obviously, in-person choir is my preferred method because it is quite difficult to try to replicate arts classes online. But I think that Mr. Coles and Mrs. Vlachos have done a great job trying to make the online choir experience engaging and as similar as they can to in-person choir,” said junior Lindsey Kendall.


Though online choir has been difficult to figure out, teachers help students learn and stay engaged by using various online programs such as Soundtrap and Sight Reading Factory. 


“We get to use cool websites and record ourselves and compose a little, that’s pretty fun,” said senior Quinn Hirschland.  


Sophomore Sarah Shehigian said, “We are learning about music theory [and] have been studying song form, modes, placement, poetic and lyrical expression.”


With all electives being moved to be the last period of the day, choirs can run pretty late which can cause conflicts with after school activities. In order to be a part of an advanced jazz choir, students must also be in a grade level choir. 


“Grade level choirs[…]meet everyday for 45 minutes in the afternoon during period 4,” said Kendall.


Senior Molly Dever said, “The two jazz choirs [alternate] so that [Excalibur] meets Tuesday and Thursday from 4:20-5:55 pm and [Age of Guinevere] meets Wednesday and Friday after school at the same time.”


“I work outside of school and have after school activities[…]With choir going into early evening, it’s really hard for me to make it to all/most of the classes and still get my assignments in for both choirs and my other classes,” said junior Annessa Buggy.


Many students enjoy choir because they can experience it with many of their friends. Online choir seems to lack the social aspect that choir usually holds.


“Choir is very much community-oriented and being online[…]definitely hampers that aspect of the class a bit. Sometimes it feels a little impersonal,” said Hirschland.


Similarly, Buggy said, “It’s especially different when you have to learn music on your own time by yourself. A big aspect of our choirs are that each choir is like a big family[…]but with things being online, it’s hard to create those bonds and friendship.”


Overall, with all things considered, choir students are appreciative of all the work that the choir department has put into adjusting online.


“I am very grateful that Fairview has put in time to make sure that I am even able to take choir while we are online and dealing with these difficult times. Choir is my favorite part of school and[…]I am grateful that the admin acknowledges how important the arts are in the lives of their students,” said Kendall. 


Similarly, Dever said, “I feel really lucky to be able to still have choir at all[…]I’m so incredibly grateful to [Mrs. Vlachos] and Mr. Coles and everybody at the choir office, because[…]I know how hard they are working to keep us all happy and singing in these scary times.”