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BWW Blog: Lessons from Zoom

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At a time when no live theatre is being performed, it’s the best tool that most performance groups have right now.

BWW Blog: Lessons from Zoom

The semester is in full swing at the University of Miami, and so are rehearsals in the theatre department. - Don't worry, ZOOM rehearsals. And even though the term "zoom rehearsals" sounds really fun, it's not as appealing as it may seem.

You're probably very familiar with Zoom at this point, unless you live under a rock (which I wouldn't blame you for-stay away!!). If you've used Zoom then you know that while it's a great tool for facilitating online courses, it's not exactly designed for group rehearsals. However, at a time when no live theatre is being performed, it's the best tool that most performance groups have right now.

Although the University of Miami is having in-person and hybrid classes, we are not allowed to rehearse as usual since singing and acting in close quarters is not a very safe practice during these times. So, the only option for the theatre department was to rehearse shows via Zoom and present them in a virtual setting. While some rehearsals have started, the "season" at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre has not officially been announced because there are still so many unknowns in the world. At this point in a typical semester, the first two shows are nearing tech week, there's usually at least a dozen students waiting in the greenroom each night for their rehearsals to start, and the school is filled with excitement as opening night quickly nears. However, things are very different this year. So far, it seems that we will be presenting our performances behind the camera, whether that be pre-recorded or live. It's still not clear yet when we will be able to film these performances, as there is hope that we can eventually film students together in the same place, without an audience. Even though we're not sure when these performances will be presented, we are still rehearsing because it is imperative that we stay in practice.

Although there are a few shows in zoom rehearsal right now, things are moving much slower than usual. The platform is proving to be difficult for rehearsal especially when it comes to learning new music and harmonies. Singing in groups and with an accompanist are nearly impossible. Most of the time students are provided with rehearsal tracks from our pianist ahead of time so we can rehearse on our own and be ready for acting coaching over zoom.

While rehearsing over zoom is not the way I wanted to spend my senior year, I am still grateful, and I can see the upside in these hard times. I'm reminded of how lucky I am that I still get to be creative with my friends and professors, and I've learned some great lessons along the way. Zoom rehearsals have taught me that being over-prepared is necessary and that I cannot take my skills and talents for granted. Preparation is key. In this time of a global pandemic, I cannot focus on the things that I cannot change, but I can focus on myself. I CAN bring my best self to every rehearsal. I CAN be over-prepared. I CAN continue to hone my craft and focus on myself more than ever. I've learned that a performance credit on my resume doesn't matter, and what does matter are my skills as an artist. I'm working on myself.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Noah Skurtu