Fine Arts Classes in a Zoom Classroom

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Mitchell Liu

With classes currently all online, fine arts teachers at the School are working on adapting their classes for Zoom. Upper School 2D Art Educator Ann Murphy joins Zoom with her iPad ready and waits for her students to join. Murphy then shows a 2D art technique on her iPad and sends her students (mainly freshman) into breakout rooms to try the technique.  

With her advanced art classes, Murphy uses her iPad to show her students how to fix their canvas, set up a pallet, and how to mix colors. “At times, it’s awkward and clumsy,” Murphy says.

Fine Arts Department Co-Chair Harry Muniz said some classes such as chorus and band will be forced to stay online because of the county’s health department requirements. Muniz added that filmmaking was not offered this year because of scheduling constraints, but will be offered next year. 

Muniz’s Photo 1 class is using their own smartphone cameras and receiving assignments over Zoom using Keynote (a presentation software). Students in Photo 1 are also beginning to use Photoshop while the more advanced classes are also using Keynote for assignments. Photo 3 and the Honors class have the School’s cameras available to them.I think [it is] going better than last spring,” Muniz concludes. 

Drama teacher, Director of US plays, and Co-chair of the Fine Arts Department Kathleen Ray has been adapting projects and games to fit her online drama classes. “Some [games and projects] work just fine and some we really struggle,” Ray says. 

Ray is doing a lot of theatre games and trying to get her students to connect. Even though her drama class is on Zoom, her class still works on diction, projection, and characterization, just as it would during in-person classes.

She is looking forward to doing original projects where students write their own monologues and perform them. She is also looking for 2 person plays, which she hopes to have her students perform via Zoom. 

Director of Instrumental Music Josh Tower has been working on pieces for the holiday concert in his music classes. “It’s a [really] slow process, we are definitely moving much slower then we had in the past,” Tower confirmed.

Tower has his students use a new music software called Smartmusic. He is still learning how to use the software to substitute in-person playing. Using Smartmusic, students are able to submit their assignments; therefore, Tower is able to virtually give feedback to his students.“I sit down at the computer at the end of [the] day and I start grading papers [and other assignments submitted through Smartmusic],” Tower said.

With so many changes occurring within our lives, communities, and now fine arts, as well, students are left wondering: “When will fine arts class ever return back to normal?”