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Music Education In The Pandemic And Beyond

Emma Banker, Jessi McIrvin, and Valerie Sanchez record vocals in pop-up tents during choir class at Wenatchee High School in Wenatchee, Washington.
Emma Banker, Jessi McIrvin, and Valerie Sanchez record vocals in pop-up tents during choir class at Wenatchee High School in Wenatchee, Washington.

School budgets have been hit hard in the last decade — and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped matters. Oftentimes, when it comes to prioritizing services and subjects in a budget, one of the first things on the chopping block is music education.

Though it has proven benefits, both academic and social, music education isn’t always available to kids. Sometimes schools can’t — or won’t — pay for it, but lately, some schools say they don’t have the technology or equipment necessary to teach it remotely.

Teaching orchestra, choir or band virtually in a pandemic presents some unique challenges. Even with schools reopening, it’s difficult to hold in-person band practice in a way that’s safe and socially distant.

How has music education changed during the pandemic? And what does its future in U.S. education look like?

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