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Our opinion: Being tuned into music classes

The fight to start fall sports has made headlines across the commonwealth — but we shouldn’t lose track of the disappointing news recently that the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association will not hold in-person events this year.

Suspending in-person student events means there will be no PMEA District, Region and All-State festivals, District level fests and MPAs – adjudication. These events are often important for music students who hope to study music in college. Preparing for district, region and all-state festivals requires just as much work on the part of student musicians as practicing for a district championship game takes for a football or volleyball team.

While sports is likely to continue — for now, at least — music education is going to look very different this year. Rather than playing or singing as much in school, student musicians will be able to make videos from home and be evaluated on their chosen craft remotely while learning music theory and history in the classroom. And, it’s encouraging to hear Marcia White, Music Department Head and Warren Area High School and Beaty Warren Middle School band and orchestra teacher, say local music educators are trying to find ways to provide a PMEA-like experience for their students.

It’s not perfect, but hopefully it allows student musicians to progress on their instruments, particularly those who want to pursue college scholarships. One would also hope we can find a way to showcase our student musicians, particularly seniors who may never again have the opportunity to play in front of as large a crowd as they receive in a school concert.

If we can accommodate sports, we must be able to accommodate music, too.

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