A beatmaking analog synthesizer is shown on a wooden table.

A Student’s Perspective to Distance Learning During Covid-19

Distance Learning at Pyramind with Covid-19 By Alexis Harris

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve all been ordered to shelter in place, and keep a safe 6 feet away from absolutely everyone. Some of us would prefer to keep even further still from those we are forced to share an abode with, but rules are rules, and apparently there are no hidden escape routes. For many people, especially extroverts, this pandemic is a painful situation. For misanthropes and introverts like heavy gamers and the typical music producer, the forced distancing is somewhat of a dream realized.

I’ve been taking courses at Pyramind’s ground campus since 2019. I elected to do so rather than go the online route because I very much enjoy the community, company of my peers and prefer learning via  hands on experience. I also had been….. casually borrowing Wifi from my recalcitrant upstairs neighbors as retribution, so I felt that taking a series of online courses might not be terribly reliable with an iffy connection.

Since shelter in place has been enforced, I’ve been just as productive as I had set out to be. I don’t find that this is nearly as torturous as most healthy people are making it out to be, but that’s likely because I don’t have children or roommates, so no one is here to drive me out of my ever loving mind. I am finally being provided with the opportunity to do everything I’ve been complaining about for months. Organization? Check. Clean the fridge. Check. Learn some new skills. Check. MAKE A MOTHERLOAD OF MUSIC. You better believe it.

Before now, my attempts at collaborations with some of my peers had mixed results. I found that prior to this ordinance, setting up a time to get all parties involved was an enormous hassle. One friend changed her mind at the last minute, another kept forgetting we had booked the studio, and another after that, well….. seemed to always find something more important to do. Such can be the case when trying to get whimsical artists all in the same place. It’s often like herding cats.

Since Shelter in place, Pyramind has moved all their classes online and I have found a more stable internet connection, (thanks friends with Xfinity). Now, not only can I attend my newly moved online classes, but I can work with my friends on projects that I’d been trying so hard to make happen. Why? Because there is literally NOTHING ELSE BETTER TO DO, and quite frankly, I am here for it. Now, if the spirit should move me, I can show up completely pantless to a zoom meeting with a background of cats in space, work on my side of the collab in the privacy of my own home all while eating sardines and granola after having completed the cinnamon challenge. Sure I don’t currently have access to a fancy studio, but I have the tools I need. Thanks to the classes I’ve taken at Pyramind, I also now have a knowledge base for how to execute my ideas. I am actually quite grateful  that all the ideas that have been rattling around in my brain on a daily basis are finally becoming tangible. I have the tools to produce, record, and do the initial mix in order to complete a piece.

If you think about it, this is hardly a setback for producers. Pretty much everyone with a pulse, especially millennials with FOMO, are constantly attached to an electronic device anyway just waiting to see what they’ve missed in the last 20 seconds. Being quarantined actually provides you with an acceptable excuse to do all that multitasking you were doing anyway, while you also get to work on your music. If you are not taking advantage of the fact that there are absolutely no excuses and you have ALL the free time, you are wasting this golden opportunity and missing the silver lining to this very serious ordeal. Hit up a friend who you’ve been wanting to work with. See if you can’t make something happen by sending sessions back and forth. Just because the situation isn’t ideal, doesn’t mean you can’t adapt and make it work. It just means you have to think a little differently, and maybe try something new. Why not?… You have nothing to lose 🙂

BIO: Alexis Harris AKA P.Fuzz

Alexis, also known artistically as P.Fuzz, is a Berklee College of music Alum, classically trained violinist / violin instructor and music producer, who relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area 4 years ago. Her passion for electronic music, especially when stemming from classical and jazz roots, brought her to study at Pyramind in 2019.  A few of her notable influences include Niccolo Paganini, Bach, Rachmaninoff, The Prodigy, Amon Tobin, Noisia, and Wolfgang Gartner. Her music integrates her classical training along with her love for glitchy sound design and electronic music.

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