Music scholars playing remotely

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamline’s music department has worked on creative ways to stay connected and make the best of the academic year.


Jada Bennett

Zoom orchestra practice

Robin Doyscher, Senior Reporter

Hamline University’s 2019-2020 school year was cut short due to the recent pandemic sweeping the nation, and as a result classes have switched to an online format––including music classes.

First-year Katelyn Ziebol, an accounting major, did not anticipate the start of her college career being cut short so suddenly. Alongside her required courses going digital, participation in the Hamline orchestra has taken a similar path.

“The orchestra director Yali You has been regularly checking up on the orchestra and giving us a task list to complete during the week,” Ziebol said. “She lists certain spots in music to learn ourselves and she gives us links to listen to so we can hear how things are supposed to sound.”

When asked about the pitfalls of online school, Ziebol cited the change to online interaction, and the disconnect of not being able to learn in a classroom setting, as well as not being able to indulge in extracurriculars in the same way.

“At the same time, it’s hard not being able to play with the orchestra,” Ziebol said. “We are individually supposed to learn our own parts by ourselves, just like how students have to learn material for classes themselves at home.”

Senior Stephanie Esplana, a communications major, mentioned the differences online learning have made with her piano and voice classes.

Not having your professor face to face because when they are lecturing online you can’t just interrupt them to ask questions, you have to save it once they are done and sometimes you forget your questions,” Esplana said. “For voice class, it’s hard to sing online and listen to the piano because what if it buffers?”

Esplana also reported having difficulty with practicing for extended amounts of time while at home.

Music department professor and orchestra director Yali You said Hamline’s music department has worked hard to overcome these difficulties to keep students engaged and learning even in socially distant times. 

Their efforts include “cancelling all in-person lessons, cancelling all ensembles, and swiftly developing a system of loaning instruments and equipment to students, so they could continue their studies,” You said.

You mentioned the general success of the plan and the gratitude the department has towards its workers.

In general, the  music department has successfully moved everything online, including regular bi-monthly  department meetings and individual advising meetings with students for Fall 2020 registration,” You said. “I am very grateful to work with such a large group of dedicated colleagues, and I could not be more pleased and proud of our students.”