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Virtual studio connects Baltimore City music students during pandemic

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jun 08, 2021

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — "My students perform drums, piano and guitar every day," said Rod Hamilton, Baltimore City high school music teacher.

But when the pandemic hit last year, Hamilton had to scramble to keep his students engaged with no instruments.

"I had them downloading apps and 'Can you send me a video of you playing on your phone?' and it was a mess," said Hamilton.

Then he found Soundtrap, an online audio recording studio that enables students and teachers to collaborate using any device from any location.

He reached out to the Baltimore City Schools fine arts coordinator Chan'nel Howard, who decided to buy the platform for high school students to use.

"It’s one of the things that I talk about with a whole lot of pride," said Howard.

"Soundtrap allowed us an opportunity to talk about music in a different way, a completely different curriculum talking about how to remix a song, how to produce a song," said Hamilton.

Word got out about how successful it was and middle school teachers requested it. Now it’s being piloted in two elementary classrooms.

"What it takes away is the boredom, the disinterest that our kids and it helps them engage in music in a more meaningful way," said Howard.

They are now working to see how to integrate it during in-person learning for next school year.