Tuning into Zoom

As the pandemic lives on, many clubs like Musical Mentors have had to make multiple changes to execute their meetings.

Cassidy Cheng
A mentee and a mentor helping each other out before the club had to shift online.

Claire Nguyen, News Editor

Like most of the clubs at Capo, Musical Mentors had to completely flip the way they would meet and how students would participate in their club. The usual hands-on club, which would meet after school, has moved entirely online. Since her freshman year, sophomore Abby Owen has been in Musical Mentors and found the situation odd but still fun. 

“Although we are doing everything we can to make the situation a little more normal, it is harder to mentor a student over Zoom, especially in music. It’s difficult to correct finger placement or help them with their instrument without being in person with them. However, it is still a great opportunity for young musicians,” Owen explained.

Before, the club members and the mentees would meet in the lower pavilion near the T-hall and in front of the music room. At the beginning of each session, they would split up into groups according to their instrument. After meeting with their mentee or mentor the club would group back together and participate in ensemble time, which is when all the members and mentees play scales together

Mentors and mentees would play together as a group in the lower pavilion. (Cassidy Cheng)

Now that the club is entirely online, the club’s board members have replaced the ensemble time with Kahoots where everyone can participate. But the most significant change for everyone was the shift from in-person to Zoom. Jocelyn Phan, the vice president of Musical Mentors, experimented with different platforms before deciding to use Zoom as their primary meeting tool. 

After much experimenting, we agreed that Zoom would be the best application to hold our sessions. It allows us to pair a mentor up with a student like normal by putting them into breakout rooms. This way, students are getting the help they signed up for, and the mentors are learning new management skills all while being socially distanced!” Phan enthused. 

Along with change comes extra problems. The club has had to deal with technical issues, like almost every online-based instruction has this year. The members of the club, however, have been extremely flexible with the problems that occur. 

Our mentors have been good at figuring out solutions on the go whenever they run into these kinds of problems with their student(s). Overall, Musical Mentors has been going pretty smoothly so far,” Phan praised. 

As online club meetings go on, and the chances of clubs transitioning back to in-person seem slim, Musical Mentors have been creating new ideas for their program. This includes the possibility of having an official website. Although it is not set in stone, they want to have different tabs that showcase what they do, who they are and tips on playing instruments. Musical Mentors President Cassidy Cheng has many goals for the program in the future. 

We want to possibly do a special project for the holidays with our mentors and mentees at the end of the semester,” Cheng addressed. “But we also want to continue what we’re doing and continue encouraging people to come. Of course, we can’t predict what is going to happen during the quarantine, so we just have to roll with the punches.”

When Musical Mentors does officially turn back to in-person, it would be an easy switch. Many of the club members were previously mentees, so they know the process like the back of their hands. 

“It’ll be a return to normal for the high schoolers and the younger mentees,” Cheng expressed. 

Even though Musical Mentors can’t meet in-person, love and positivity are still spread between screens. Before quarantine, there was sustained support for the club from its members, parents, outside schools and outside arts programs. Although they’re used to the love, it was still surprising for the board members to see the long-lasting support virtually. 

We appreciate the support very much,” Phan gushed. “It’s what keeps us going. Musical Mentors wouldn’t be what it is without its supporters.