With COVID-19 bringing music programs, such as choir and band to a halt from in-person practices and performances this school year, Mr. Chessin, the choir director, found a new way to present music to his singers through teaching music production.
He explains it as “an outgrowth of some projects I have been doing with online learning… creating music that others can listen to. It could be live or completely digital. Music production is making music happen.”
Because of the success in teaching production to his choirs, plus in an optional class that met twice a week during advisory, he decided to make two classes for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year that are available for credit during the school day. “My vision for next year is that we create a student produced album. Through one semester of learning about production, I think we are able to get it done. We have about 35 students enrolled… It is going to be a lot more intense than the 2-5 students I have right now,” he said.
Technology and a want to teach more of the student body helped inspire Chessin to start the class. “The easiest way to make music is to make music online, and I recognized that not only choir members are interested in making music. I have always wanted to teach 100% of the school and not just 10%. Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn about music. I would have taught this class 10 years ago, but I didn’t have the tech. Now we have the program called Soundtrap and it is a real game-changer,” Chessin said.
“We will be using a digital audio workstation which is a software that enables users to create and record tracks, and work with them to make a finished musical product,” Chessin explained. “We will be working with the different parts of this musical audio workstation.”
There are many students at CHS who would fit Mr. Chessin’s target area who enjoy making music.
CHS student, Jason Lai explained, “I like making music because it’s a way to express one’s self and creativity.” If he were to take a class specifically on producing music, he’d hope it’d include basic music theory.
CHS student, Andrea Gallizio also expressed music as “just another language through which I communicate, it is the raw emotions that I feel and seek to express. Words can feel limiting at times, musical expression fills in the gaps.”
As students find their own ways to express themselves through music, the new production and songwriting class will present a bigger opportunity for those students to learn and grow in a school setting next school year.
Garrett Monroe and Bianca Flores contributed to this article.