For many of Zumix students, the neighborhood’s popular music and performing arts program is a sanctuary of education, joy and support. Deciding to close Zumix to help encourage social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic was extremely difficult for staff and music teachers. However, Zumix Executive Director Madeleine Steczynski said this has left Zumix with a new goal: “Banding Together While Staying Apart”.
Since closing Zumix program staff and ensemble instructors have connected with their students, and have begun offering classes on-line through Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts. They’re also using ear and rhythm training apps. “I am so proud of everyone who works at Zumix,” said Steczynski. “During an incredibly stressful time, we have all transitioned to working remotely, and our teaching staff didn’t skip a beat. We are currently teaching 375 young people remotely each week, and these smiles only tell a fragment of the story. Much love to all my fellow ZUMers! You are doing beautiful work, and spreading much joy.” Steczynski said Zumix’s video students are working on a project-based activity using their smartphones to document their personal experiences of how the virus has affected their lives.
“Also, for our youngest students, where a group chat can be challenging, our teachers are running mini one-on-one classes for each student,” said Steczynski. “Our Musical Theater teacher, along with many of our private Adventures in Music teachers are recording tracks for their students to sing and play along to at home.”
Unfortunately, following public health recommendations, Zumix has been forced to cancel the final two shows of its BIG WORLDS concert series, and have postponed its annual Walk for Music fundraiser.
“While we may not be able to entertain you at one of our events, we’re still committed to bringing joy to everyone, especially in this time of need,” said Steczynski. “That is why we are excited to announce our new at-home campaign Sing a Song/ Send a Song. Participants are asked to sing a song dedicated to someone they’re not able to see right now, and nominate three friends to do the same. We’re hoping people will consider donating $10 to Zumix through our FirstGiving page with the post and asking your nominees to do the same.”