Moving Performances Virtual: How Arizona School For The Arts Is Changing Focus

Teaching Performance Art Virtually

Recently, one of our community of schools made the news! Arizona School for the Arts teachers and staff give us a deeper look at the challenges they face teaching performing arts students virtually in the face of COVID-19.

Read the entire article here.

Putting on a Virtual Show

As schools are updating their policies on health and safety for all during this non-traditional school year, teachers and refocusing to provide students the support they need even within the art curriculum.

Local performing arts charter school and High Rising Schools of Phoenix community member, Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) is adopting a virtual performance schedule to give students practice. Many faculty-led performing arts ensembles are adapting to virtual rehearsals and performances during the current COVID-19 pandemic. ASA has started to reenvision what it means to teach at a performing arts school during these challenging times when students are not in-person.

Teachers Change Focus on Instruction

Through trials and tribulations, teachers at ASA realized very quickly that the production side of virtual performances can be extremely time-consuming. Therefore, the school went on a “kind of vision quest on the importance of each individual art form.” said Vice Principal of Student Services, Monica Sauer Anthony of ASA.

“So the challenges of being a performer through COVID was on the forefront of everybody’s mind,” she said. “But instead of thinking about what we can’t do, we looked at identifying what we can do.”

Looking at their world by removing the four walls of the classroom puts them in a digital space with opportunity to work with students individually and in small groups. This made teachers more connected with students and their progress.

Project-based Performance Art

Head of School, Leah Frequilia said, “When you play a piece of music,” Fregulia said, “if everybody isn’t on exactly the right stream, you can’t coordinate. The notes are either ahead or behind. So it’s tough. Especially when you’re training kids.”

To get around those sorts of issues, the teachers switched from performance-based learning to project-based learning.

“What our choirs are doing, instead of putting together a performance this quarter, they’re looking at music written within the past 50 years by African American composers for choirs,” she said. “And they’re actually learning the music but not necessarily singing it out loud together because of the delay. The older students are creating practice tracks for the younger students to practice along with at home.”

Education Prevails

Even with social distancing requirements in force, students and teachers find a way to overcome challenges and continue their education. High Rishing schools of Phoenix is proud of all of the students, teachers, and administrators in our urban core schools for all that they are doing to continue learning, in any form, and improving our society through thought-provoking solutions.

Learn more about our Downtown Phoenix schools and what makes each great by visiting our website today!

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