In the era of COVID-19, Carolina Day music teachers have encountered a new set of priorities as they work through the 2020-21 academic year. The first priority during this time is the health and safety of students, teachers, and the community. Next is how to handle unique circumstances and create a deep learning experience for students.
Music teacher Stacy Montana, who teaches LS and KLS students, found a creative and meaningful solution to the safety considerations that come with singing—some studies have shown that singing can spread considerable amounts of aerosol particles and droplets into the surrounding air, and increase the risk of viral spread. One of her creative solutions? This year, Montana is leading LS and KLS students in an American Sign Language (ASL) song rendition.
“Singing brings us together, creating a sense of belonging and unity that is fulfilling to the performer, while also touching an audience on an emotional level,” said Montana. “When I learned that we wouldn't be able to sing together, I knew I had to find an alternative to create a similar experience. Signing [in ASL] allows us to meaningfully connect to a song and share it with intentionality to others. We have unity, we deeply connect to the lyrics, and can safely share it with each other and our community.”
The song she chose—the 1972 classic “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers—is both timeless and meaningful in a year of overcoming challenges. “I am so proud of how our students have embraced it and taken ownership of this new way to express such a timeless song,” said Montana. “When sharing facts about Bill Withers with fourth graders, one student said it so beautifully: ‘We want to know the whole story.’ This is part of our story at Carolina Day and how all Lower School students have become connected through music and the truth that we can lean on each other when we're not strong.”
Enjoy the performance below.