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All Together Now

Music instructor's screenshot of his zoom class
April 17, 2020

Students’ experiences are enriched when music class moves online.

“This has really been a positive learning experience for all of us."

Music instructor Derek Bromme and his students are discovering that online classes offer opportunities for expanded collaboration with key audiences.

When COVID-19 prompted the University of Minnesota system to deliver all classes via alternative learning formats, Bromme modified his curriculum to include a weekly challenge. Unlike in-person classes, he’s able to include both alumni and prospective students in the process. “I play the prospective students’ videos and the current students give them comments and critique. This wouldn’t have been happening at all if we weren’t doing virtual masterclasses.” 

UMD music instructor Dr. Derek BrommeIn another challenge, Bromme asked his students to play a solo done by tuba player Reginald Chapman. Thomas Woytko, a junior, uploaded his recording to Instagram and tagged Chapman. Chapman then shared it on his instagram. “If that wasn't cool enough, Reggie agreed to pop into our weekly Zoom masterclass,” says Bromme. “It was a pretty awesome experience since many of my students look up to him as a player and entrepreneur.”

Bromme says he’s trying to keep the students engaged and motivated in these final weeks of the school year– a time that is much different than they imagined. “They are inspiring me with their video uploads and arrangements as much as I am trying to inspire them.” 

“This has really been a positive learning experience for all of us. And I will be continuing to use many of the things we have done during this quarantine next fall as part of my teaching.” 

Learn more about UMD's Department of Music