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Online music program educating students across Saskatchewan

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YORKTON —
A Saskatchewan-based band program has helped students across the province study music virtually throughout the pandemic.

The Saskatchewan Band Association hosted a seven-week online program for students who are missing band classes and want to continue to develop their skills.

Nine instructors from shared their expertise with 125 students from all over the province once a week.

Robin Tinani, a flute instructor in Regina, said she was happy to see the talents of new students from 16 communities around the province.

“To connect with new young musicians who were just so passionate about playing [and] have this huge desire to learn anything they can, it was fantastic,” said Tinani.

Students were able to hone their skills in instruments ranging from the trumpet to percussion.

The program was designed with students who are in areas where band programs had been cancelled or significantly impacted in mind – 37 of the participants fell in to that category.

“It is very, very important that province-wide we are able to reach all of these musicians and help them to not only play better for band, but to just be better well-rounded musicians,” said Tinani.

Students were in a Zoom class with their instructors for an hour per week and were left to work on assignments each week.

“It was wonderful to see the amount of engagement and the responsiveness of the students,” Tinani said.

Suzanne Gorman, CEO of the Saskatchewan Band Association, said offering a program like this was already on their radar, so they were ready to launch when the pandemic hit.

“We’d already been looking at delivering online lessons and how we could do that to provide that service specifically for rural and remote locations,” explained Gorman.

The Saskatchewan Band Association has a six-week online semi-private lesson program starting next week to continue engaging young musicians as they look forward to what is hopefully a more normal fall.

“The smaller the community and the smaller the band, a small drop in numbers makes a huge impact, so we’re just trying to provide all the support we can possibly do,” added Gorman.

Tinani will also be offering a music theory course in addition to the semi-private lessons.

Registration for the new programming closes this weekend, with the programming starting next week.