NCHS Music Collaborate With Playlists, Mixes To Connect During Mandated School Closure

A video playlist on YouTube features NCHS music students for community members and those in assisted living centers can enjoy. Above: NCHS senior Micah Arnold begins to play.

By Leah Williams

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Music students at Nashville Community High School have been keeping connected with each other through online videos and shared song collaborations.

One project announced on   St. Patrick’s Day, the same week where mandatory school shutdowns were put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic, includes an uploaded playlist on YouTube of several NCHS students introducing themselves and playing a solo with their instruments for the listener’s viewing pleasure.

NCHS Music Director Steve Browne said one of the concerns he had when the closure was announced was how to encourage his students to continue to play music.

“As a music teacher, one of the first things that you don’t want is for your students to not play their instruments,” Browne said. “Especially the woodwinds, because there are muscles that keep getting weaker the longer you don’t play.”

Browne said once he learned that many assisted living facilities were not going to allow visitors because of the pandemic, he pitched the idea to his students.

“They kind of ran off with it,” he said.

The YouTube playlist includes 30 videos of students’ solos.

Another project that the music department recently finished was a “virtual choir.” The students each uploaded their performances of “Higher Ground” from each of the jazz choir members, and Browne mixed them using computer software.

“I wanted to make sure the kids were still seeing each other,” Browne said. “While it is not anything close to the same thing, I still wanted for them to have some sense that we are all still together.”

Browne said he also would like the community to also feel connected with the music students.

“The community likes to see our kids play music,” he said. “And we wanted them to get the chance to see them play.”

Throughout the uncertainty that the school closure can create, Browne stressed the importance in ensuring that the students at NCHS remain cared for and connected.

“The main thing is to keep our kids rolling, make sure they are emotionally checked in and that they are still connected to one another,” he said.

The YouTube solo playlist can be found here and the virtual jazz choir song can be found here, or watch the videos below.

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