For Amira Coleman, a senior double majoring in music education with an emphasis on special education and vocal performance, COVID-19 has only made her more passionate and appreciative of the power of music.
“Not gonna lie, Wichita State University was my backup school . . . I’ve always been a musician, I’ve always loved music, but they say to not go into performance because you’re not always going to have a career in that. I got the best scholarships and offers here so I decided to stay because I have family in Wichita, I know the city and I have roots here,” Coleman said.
Coleman’s education, like many other students, was impacted by COVID-19 and completely changed the way her senior year looked. Coleman said that she misses the feeling of performing music for an audience.
“Sometimes I feel my body vibrating with the sound of the music when performing, and that’s just not something I have felt in over a year and it’s depressing,” Coleman said.
Instead of practicing teaching skills on real students, education major students had to practice their skills on each other. Many music performances were also cancelled, and performances via livestream just weren’t the same.
“Being in choir is all about making music together, so with COVID-19 regulations it was depressing. The community aspect was totally gone and performing was totally gone. It’s just not the same, and I missed out on the community and the physical being around other people and making music together,” Coleman said.
Coleman said she is excited for the future when she will be in a real classroom and be able to implement the skills that she learned in college. She is looking forward to being able to share her passion for music with the younger generation.
“I just want to make sure that the next generation has as much love for music and art as my generation does. I’m excited to get paid to do the thing I love instead of paying to do what I love,” Coleman said.
She said that COVID-19 has shown her how people crave art and how important it is for people in different ways.
“After this pandemic, we can see that people rely on the arts more than anything else to have a creative outlet, find news ways to express themselves, and keep themselves busy and happy. I’ve just seen so many stories and testimonials about people picking up their instrument or singing again because there is nothing to do in quarantine,” Coleman said.
Coleman said that she believes teaching and funding the arts in K-12 schools is more important than ever before.
“Teaching music starts in kindergarten, it starts at home, but it’s up to musicians to keep the love of music cultivated in younger generations. I think music makes everything better, it makes society better, it makes humans better people. I think music is a way to teach compassion,” Coleman said.
For the future, Coleman plans to finish student teaching in the fall and start applying to grad schools for opera performance. She is hoping to be a substitute teacher or get a teaching contract in the spring. Coleman grew up in Liberal, Kansas and hopes to be accepted to a graduate school in a larger city.