How Will Virtual Music Instruction Work in Fall 2020?

At this time, MBUSD has determined that school will open in the fall 2020 in a full distance learning format. Accordingly, we are developing plans to deliver meaningful music education online, while concurrently planning for the the shift to hybrid learning formats consistent with the District’s “Phase In” plan and guidance from the Los Angeles County Health Department. For more detail about our plans for instruction in the coming year, please click here for a PDF of the presentation at our Parent Town Hall held on August 6th, here to watch the zoom recording of that event, and here to see the Director’s Late Summer Update. In addition, scroll down to see examples of what digital learning looked like for our ensemble classes in the spring of 2020.

Regarding Marching Band and Colorguard, we have reimagined the season both in terms of content and schedule. To give our staff more time to shift to a distance-only format (as opposed to the hybrid model we began planning at the beginning of the summer), and plan innovative and exciting content, rather than a traditional Band Camp, beginning on August 17th we will be holding a week of virtual social events. Marching Band & Colorguard instruction will begin on August 31st. Students can expect advanced virtual content, including “Virtual Reality” style apps to simulate marching blocks. Find out more on the Programs page, Join tab, “Marching Band & Colorguard.”

We have applied to site administration and the District, under guidelines set out by the LA County Department of Health, for permission for Marching Band and Colorguard to meet in person for small group, outdoor sports training.

Creating Meaningful Social Connections In the Distance Learning Format:

Band and Guard are often described as a family. We know that starting the year in a distance learning model presents unique challenges to forming those connections. We are currently developing a variety of programs designed to foster those social connections, not just within our MCHS Band & Guard Community, but also with band students at the middle and elementary school levels. Look for more information coming soon about these programs under the “Mentorship” tab.

Instrument Pick Up

Instrument and Equipment pick up was conducted as part of the school’s Textbook, Swag and ID Distribution. If your student needs an instrument or equipment, or was not able to make their allotted time slot during the school’s Distribution, please email

Supplies & Equipment

  • Apps & Platforms:
    • BandLab/Sound Trap – Provides backing tracks
    • Discord/Zoom with Sound Trap – Allows faculty to interact with groups of students as they are playing
    • Classroom spaces such as Zoom & Google Classroom
    • Possibly Flipgrid and Jam Kazam – Allows for recording of solo performances and small ensembles respectively. Would become part of virtual concert content.
  • Technology – Because some students do not have laptops, our goal is to have all apps and platforms be compatible with students’ mobile phones or ipads.
  • Microphone (Recommended) – Students will receive more information in class.
  • Instrument – If your student needs to use a school instrument during distance learning, please contact, or
  • Digital sheet music – Students will receive pdfs or downloadable copies of their music.
  • Other – Cardboard phone holder for use with virtual reality app (Marching Band and Colorguard only)
  • Notification Communication Systems – Students use Slack Messaging. They will download and sign up for Slack as part of their classes


Microphones are optional for students. However, if you are looking to acquire a microphone for your student, here is one option you may be interested in. If you have any questions about providing a microphone for your student, please email, or

Instrument Covers

For all in-person activities – including in-person marching band and colorguard athletic training, brass and woodwind students will be asked to use an instrument cover (sometimes called a bell cover). Below is an example of what these covers look like. Several sites are selling instrument covers, including Dance Sophisticates (email Email or call 888-248-2090 to place an order) and McCormicks (order on website). FLUTE PLAYERS – please note that instrument covers for flutes are not commercially available. Flute players who decide to participate in in-person training will receive an email with instructions about instrument covers. If you have questions about providing an instrument cover for your student, please email

Music Masks

As with Instrument Covers, anyone who decides to participate in in-person training must wear masks covering the nose and mouth at all times. oodwind and brass students will be required to wear a “music mask” – masks that have an overlapping design so the instrument can be played while the mouth and nose are still fully covered. Below are two examples of this style of mask (one for most woodwinds and brass players, the others specialized for flute players). These music masks are available at Dance Sophisticates (Email or call 888-248-2090 to place an order). FLUTE PLAYERS – please be sure to order the “flute mask” not the standard music mask. If you. have questions about providing a music mask for your student, please email

Here’s a glimpse at digital learning from the spring of 2020.

What Could Marching Band & Colorguard Look Like in Fall 2020?

As with all aspects of life these days, our fall Marching Band & Colorguard season is going to require us to be flexible and adapt as circumstances change. Our dedicated faculty has already been reimagining marching season, and developing a variety of plans. Since the time this video was made, we’ve learned that we will begin the school year in a full distance format. This means that all content will be delivered through online platforms and virtual reality apps. At the same time, we will be developing plans to safely deliver in-person content in the event that the high school enters Phase 3, 4 and 5, and in-person instruction is allowed to resume.

We know that one of the things students value about Marching Band & Colorguard is the social connections it offers. We are looking into ways to develop these connections, and will be announcing those plans soon.

Because field shows have been canceled for the fall, our current plan is to shift to a parade format. This “Street Show” routine would be performed at the first opportunity, even if that turns out to be after the end of a typical marching season or after the new year (though the Marching Band and Colorguard class itself will still only be a fall semester class).

We are aware that sports schedules have been altered to run only in the spring semester, and that schedules are impacted as a result. We will keep an eye on all those developments, and factor them into our scheduling as needed. 

We will be moving forward with obtaining paperwork (emergency contact information, etc) since it is possible that we will shift to in-person instruction at some point this year. If your student has registered for marching band or colorguard, please look for a Google Form, “Pre Registration Form” in mid-August.

Should you have any questions about marching band, please email Karni Syed at If you have questions about colorguard please email Michele Gentille at