The surprising benefits of asynchronicity: Teaching music theatre online
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
he rapid quarantine and isolation practices that many nations implemented in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic in 2020, changed the way artists worked together. Two major implications for the singing performance and training industries were that face-to-face rehearsals, performances and classes were indefinitely postponed or cancelled; or if they were not, were shifted to online contexts using live-streaming technologies. However, there is a major issue with such virtual interfaces which is particularly problematic for music theatre practitioners. To date almost all available digital communication platforms do not enable time synchronicity between online users (Drioli, Allocchio and Buso, 2013). Therefore, practitioners rely on regular high-latency internet systems to interface with each other and thus experience time lags as input from one system's location travels digitally to another. These delays, however fractional, prevent remote-based practitioners to experience congruent sound. Nevertheless, by experimenting with a range of livestreaming interventions in teaching and directing Music Theatre students at WAAPA, I was not only able to deliver singing, acting-through-song and other practical curriculum elements effectively online, but also to capitalise on the virtual learning context, including the asynchronous sound factor. This resulted in an effective virtual learning context for students and broadened their curriculum scope positively.
Society and Culture
Creativity, culture and artistic practice