How student-musicians at AHS are adjusting to online settings. 

Haritha Rajasekar

Staff Writer

     The holidays are defined by the reminiscent scent of candy canes, the appearance of gift-wrapping paper, the flashing decorations that lighten the neighborhoods, and, best of all, the sound of holiday music. Whether it be “Jingle Bells,” or Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” holiday music can have a huge impact in creating the uplifting vibrance of the holiday season.  

     At American, especially, student-musicians play an important role in bringing this music to life and spreading holiday cheer. From the AHS band who performs and competes during the season, or the members of Glee Club who sing at the holiday boutique, music serves to be a substantial aspect of many students’ lives. 

     Aishwarya Yuvaraj (11), who is a member of AHS Glee club talked about the impact she has seen music have on the people around her. 

     “Music has a very calming and relaxing effect on people, and, more importantly, it is something that brings people together. Music is always present in any type of occasion that brings people together, like weddings, parties, and especially the holidays. It always brings a positive and happy feeling.” AHS Glee club has been caroling at the holiday boutique every year, so members have seen firsthand the merry atmosphere that music creates. 

     But, of course, keeping in mind the current limitations brought upon by the pandemic, some find it difficult to enjoy music to its fullest ability through online substitutions. Karissa Rodrigues (12), who is currently in the choir class at AHS, believes singing or performing through Zoom is not very effective. 

     “I think people might feel awkward while learning and performing music over Zoom. Music is something we often do as a group and being isolated in your bedroom and singing a song to a screen is just weird.” Though Karissa is new to AHS music classes, she says that music is one of the only aspects that has remained unchanged throughout 2020 because of the reassurance and warmth it provides. 

     And as for band members who would typically be immersing themselves in long hours of competitions and performances during this season, Vanini Lamba (11), who has competed with AHS marching band, spoke on how this band season differs from those of previous years. 

     She says, “By now, we would have done multiple competitions and been preparing for Fairfield, which is the most important competition. The entire marching band season seems unreal, because we haven’t even stepped foot on a field, learned formations, or played together.” 

     When asked about how the band class avoids a loud and discordant cacophony of sounds over Zoom, Lamba says that it’s difficult to hear her peers play and allow the music to blend as a band; this distance, especially for a band who would usually be bonding, tends to cause members to “feel kind of isolated during Zoom calls.” But, even then, Vanini says that putting an emphasis on holiday music can “lift up the spirits of other people and allow them to feel excited for the holiday season.”

     Some student-musicians, on the other hand, have found ways to adjust to the virtual setting. Saachi Baldwa (11), an active member of AHS Musical Therapy club, spoke on her recent experience performing for an audience virtually. 

  Saachi Baldwa (11) practices elaborate compositions on her piano to prepare for her upcoming virtual performances.

     As she explains, “It is different over Zoom, but I try to make the best of it. Our club performed for senior citizens this past month, and we made sure everyone else’s mics were off while one person was performing. It was not the same as performing live, but definitely still a great experience. The seniors enjoyed it too!” The event garnered many AHS performers who brought much joy to the senior citizens who tuned into the event. 

     So whether we are listening to music through loudspeakers or headphones, the spirit of the holidays is truly encapsulated through those nostalgic tunes, lyrics, and rhythms. Be it through Zoom or in person, music is music, and music is joy. Let’s try our best to spread the holiday cheer this season, with care, with love, and with music. As Aishwarya Yuvaraj, who will be singing in a virtual concert next week says, “[Music] brings the much needed happiness and comfort during these uncertain times.”

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