Art and music are two very interactive avenues, students majoring in these areas rely heavily on peer feedback and the spaces provided by UTSA for inspiration and motivation – something many students seem to have lost since the start of the pandemic and strictly online classes have started to become an integral part of their lives. Additionally, the lines that defined school and home faded as home was forced into school, forcing students to push boundaries and push their creativity to produce their work.
When UTSA students returned to face-to-face classes after about a year and a half of online classes, there were certainly a lot of thoughts going through everyone’s mind. Four students, Alex Valles (AV), majoring in musical composition; Chris G (CG), an art major with a specialization in photography; Joseph Peter Sanchez (JPS), fine arts major and Makenzi Costa (MC), music education major, answered a few questions to immerse us in the experiences of art and music students when they had to lose a integral part of their college. education, people.
Q: What was it like being an art / music student while in lockdown?
A V: It was complicated because some classes were better enjoyed because it was easier to sing in a room with our cameras off, mics off, and just hear each other through Zoom, which also made it difficult as it didn’t. not make up for reality. .
CG: It was both frustrating and unique; being an art major you have to learn art history, and doing it during a time like this was super unique; it’s frustrating because you’re limited to one room, in my case, so you lack accessibility.
MC: Being a music student during confinement was very difficult. A big part of why I personally decided to major in music was because I loved the performance aspect of music and playing the saxophone. Unfortunately, with the lockdown in full force, all performance opportunities have been removed.
Q: How has confinement as an art / music student affected your work?
JPS: In terms of quality, I think you can create a better job and have a better work environment if you surround yourself with those who have the same interests or, in general, are encouraging. I’m one of the most creative people in the house I live in, so often I can’t necessarily turn to the people at home for feedback. And with virtual classes, there was no dynamic of being surrounded by other people with the same interests; you have only seen and known them thanks to your instructor.
MC: As a music student this affected my work both positively and negatively. I would say my job had a positive impact because I was spending more time at home working on my music and putting everything together. This was negatively affected because, as I’m sure most people have experienced, mental fatigue was at an all time high. It was sometimes difficult to put a lot of mental effort into things like I did before the pandemic.
Q: Were there times when you felt discouraged or defeated by your job during the lockdown?
A V: Many of my peers, myself included, have experienced this with their main instrument because it was so difficult to motivate yourself to practice what you love; especially with private lessons, hearing comments every week like “I don’t know if you are ringing out of tune or if it’s just the quality of Zoom”; it affects your motivation.
CG: I know for me in the second semester I fell pretty low with depression, and honestly it affected a lot of my work and I even had my teacher worried because they knew what subject I would usually shoot. As a photographer, before COVID, we had time in the studio with film photography. Then we all moved on to digital photography which is also great to learn, but for me it was like, “When will I have access to a photo lab again?” “
Q: What were your first thoughts when UTSA announced that we were coming back to campus?
A V: I was nervous, a lot of my teachers were excited to come back, and I felt a little bad because I couldn’t share the same excitement; I know some of my friends came back into a kind of hybrid situation where only half of their classes were in person so it was a smoother transition as the music students all came back at the same time so I was nervous.
CG: When I first heard that we were coming back, I was ecstatic; I just remember shouting with joy like, âFinally! I think something that people don’t realize with artists is that we get feedback from each other very often. Being in the same room with another artist is so important because you can motivate each other. The contribution of other artists is so monumental in the development of your work. So I was just happy to be able to question myself again.
JPS: I remember thinking, âOh man, here we go again. I didn’t take information primarily as an art student. Thinking back, I saw how much studio session time I had missed. Being surrounded by what you love definitely elevates your work habit and your overall commitment to projects.
MC: Overall, I was very nervous; Being in second year I hadn’t experienced normalcy in college yet and knew it would be a challenge to try to navigate everything. I was partly excited because I knew I could go back to making music in person, something I had missed so much over the past year and a half.
Q: About support
A V: I still had some really tough weeks where I couldn’t focus on my homework, or I was too exhausted to continue working, and it was scary because I’m so used to having good notes, then I would say talk to your teachers. They are very understanding and I even had them to meet my needs. Don’t keep it. It’s the worst thing you can do.
CG: I would say just be careful. We’re back in person, but we still haven’t made it out of the woods. It will be a struggle, but if you keep pushing yourself ahead you will eventually get to where you need to be.
JPS: Stay engaged and stay focused. If you are truly passionate about art, your [attitude] towards your courses and your work will be reflected there. A quote comes to mind from Henri Matisse; “Creativity takes courage.”
MC: I would say that you are not alone in feeling stressed or overwhelmed by everything that is going on; take everything step by step and know that there is always someone you can talk to.