Schools celebrate Music Monday by bringing students together while safely apart

Secondary music teachers in Rainbow Schools have come up with an innovative way to celebrate Music Monday by bringing students together while safely apart. Lasalle Secondary School, Lockerby Composite School, Manitoulin Secondary School and Sudbury Secondary School have joined forces to create a gigantic multitrack recording of a piece called Through the Eye of the Storm by Canadian composer Ryan Meeboer. 

Meghan Sanderson, Mike Jensen, Chris Theijsmeijer and Mitch McIntyre recorded a series of guide tracks for their music students to follow, with each educator playing their instrument of choice. Students were invited to add their versions to the master recording. Some 40 students have added tracks to the recording so far and that number is expected to double by Monday, May 3, 2021 when the final version is released. The goal is to delete the teacher tracks and have the student tracks stand on their own.

“We’re using a program called Bandlab. It’s available for phones and laptops and works across a wide range of operating systems, so it’s an ideal platform for remote learning,” says music teacher Mike Jensen of Lockerby Composite School. “It lets you add one track at a time while listening to the previous tracks as you record.” 

Mike Jensen says the project teaches recording techniques while keeping the spirit of the band alive through music making. “It’s like building a sandwich one layer at a time.” He adds: “Music unites people. It’s also a big part of people’s lives. Many students who have pursued careers in medicine, law or business have said that music was an important skill building activity. It taught them lessons they continue to draw on in their current fields.” 

Music teachers in Rainbow Schools have been collaborating extensively since the pandemic began and schools shifted to remote learning. “We pooled our talents to come up with a list of lessons and activities,” says Jensen. “That collaboration led to our current project. We not only wanted to make music, we also wanted to share music. Releasing our version of Through the Eye of the Storm on Music Monday is relevant for the times. It’s a celebration of our collective resilience as a community.”