John Aguilar, Director of Bands at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School in Seattle reached out to us to share a virtual performance that his students did recently of “Juice” by Lizzo.
Seattle students have missed two months of school, and with it, numerous concerts, festivals, competitions, and parades. The project was Mr. Aguilar’s idea with the aim to show that—”despite uncertain times—music truly is one of the best medicines for the soul and that our students (and the community) can find solace through making music together, although physically apart”.
Amazingly, the students only rehearsed this song in-person once, as a full marching band. The students were given a three weeks to complete their individual video recordings and Mr. Aguilar spent four days straight (12-hour days) to compile the audio and video. It’s really a feat and put a smile on my face. Please enjoy.
I asked Mr. Aguilar to compile some quotes from a couple of his students about what it’s like to do band virtually, preparing for this video, and what they miss about band.
Miguel W., Bass Drum, 8th Grade:
“One of the things I am doing at home during quarantine is listening to our previous performances. When I watch the videos I listen to hear if I am on time and if I play my part correctly.
I prepared for the “Juice” video by listening to the recordings that were sent to me and then I played along with my bass drum.
The things I miss about band are that I can’t see or play music with any of my good friends that I made through the Eagle Staff Band and I can’t see my favorite teacher, Mr. Aguilar.”
Lydia B., Piccolo, 8th Grade:
“Every week, [Mr. Aguilar] has been sending out assignments for us to do. I have been working on those, as well as practicing the songs we were supposed to play if the year was normal. It’s definitely not anything like practicing music with people in person, but it still helps me learn and improve on my skills…
[On preparing for the video]: So that all the band members started playing at the same time and the same tempo, we were given audio recordings with a metronome and our part being played along with it. I had to prepare by practicing with the track, as well as taking multiple videos to ensure I had the best recording of my part. It was really cool to see all the band members’ videos together and I think it was worth the preparations.
I really miss being with the band and hearing us play together. Our band is like a big family to me and other students, and I really just miss being together and listening to the pieces that we put so much work into come together. I wish that the band could get together one last time.”