Wheatland Center School students perform in virtual spring band concert

It wasn’t the traditional concert at the school with the students performing with parents and family in the audience, but Wheatland Center School band teacher Zachary Wendt found a way to give his students a concert this spring in a form that is becoming more and more familiar to us all — a remote video concert.

Here is a video of the concert:

Here is a Q&A we did with Wendt about how he got the idea and how he was able to put the video together:

westofthei.com — How did you think of doing this? What was the inspiration?

Wendt — Within the first week of the Stay at Home order, I knew I wanted to give my students the concert they deserved and worked so hard for. I had seen videos of professional musicians collaborating together on video and thought this would be a perfect project for my students.

westofthei.com — What were the mechanics (tech used, how were recordings made, did students play together or separately etc.)?

Wendt — I told the students to wear headphones and showed them how to play along with the recording. They each recorded themselves separately in their own home, whether it took place in their bedroom, living room, kitchen, basement, garage, or outside. They haven’t played together since early March, so they didn’t know what it would sound like until I sent them the final product (and neither did I).

westofthei.com What were the challenges compared to regular concert prep and how were they met?

Wendt — There was a real challenge not being able to give immediate feedback. In a classroom setting, I’m able to make changes on the spot. The only way I could give these kids feedback was to respond to their video submissions. On several occasions, I made video lessons for students to help them along the process.

westofthei.comWere there unique learning experiences for the students doing a concert this way.? How about for the director?

Wendt — For the students, I know it was very difficult to record an entire song in one take. On top of that, I gave them very specific directions that had to be followed perfectly, or else they’d have to try again. For me, it was a lesson in audio mixing and video editing. But in the end, I was able to give the students the best concert experience considering the circumstances.


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