Music Mayhem

Hannah Popadin-Lesniak, Reporter

As changes are constantly being made to adjust to the new school year, one department has been affected in the most unexpected way: the Music Department. 

Social distancing guidelines are enforced, of course. Instead of sitting with your sections and sharing a stand with your partner, you now have your own stand and sit alone. I am a member of the Symphonic Orchestra and the changes are different, yet exciting. From my perspective, nothing has changed besides the seating arrangements. Although I do miss hearing the music a full ensemble can play, we still attend lessons and class in order to improve our abilities and we still have a great time while doing it. I know I can speak for the music staff and students that we all miss playing with our full ensemble.

The Wantagh High School Band students have a slightly different experience. For the time being, they have played outside and in the auditorium. Adapting to these new changes are not at all easy. The Music Department staff has been working hard to give us the best experience possible, despite the challenges thrown at them. 

Although so far this year has brought so many changes to every aspect of education, teachers are making the best out of it and are creating new ways for students to receive the best education possible. 


I asked the Music teachers the following questions: 

  1. What challenges are you facing while teaching music this year? 
  2. What have you learned from this experience so far? 
  3. What are you most looking forward to when things dial down?
  4. Are students having a harder time picking up the music because of the hybrid or full remote schedule? 


Mr. Cockren’s Response: 

In a year with so many unknowns and restrictions, I love the sense of normalcy that rehearsing music brings to my day. Although playing 12 feet apart with masks on students’ faces and with bell covers on their instruments, it’s still amazing to get together with our band family and do what we all love best: making music. I think the biggest obstacle for students this year in band is that they are used to playing within a very large group within close proximity to each other. In that traditional setting, students are able to “latch on” to their music more, get help from their stand partner when they don’t know a fingering, and feel a sense of security in their part since so many other people around them are playing the same notes. Since we are only rehearsing half the band at a time and with so much distance between us, it’s definitely more difficult for students to learn their parts. However, if this year has shown me anything, is that Wantagh students are resilient and have persevered through every obstacle. I’m so proud of our band family, and they continue to amaze me every day. I’m looking forward to an opportunity for students to have a performance in some way. Although I long for the day that we can return to “normal” and rehearse the full band with traditional concerts, I’m excited for the ways the Wantagh band family has gotten creative to have the best experience possible!”


Mrs. Langer’s Response: 

“The challenge I am having this year is the fact that we do not have the kids every day. This makes it difficult to progress on the music. I have learned that the students are extremely resilient and flexible. I am most looking forward to having the entire ensemble together. Not to be selfish, but I can’t wait to hug everyone.” 


Mrs. Cassidy’s Response: 

“The most challenging part is not being able to hear the ensemble the way it is intended to be. I have learned so far that when there is a will, there is a way. I am most looking forward to being able to have everyone perform live together. Creating music virtually is hard.”