Published Dec. 04, 2020
By SOPHIA BONE
From choir courses at Carmel Middle and High School to school in India, Thomas Lehmkuhl thought he knew all the hurdles that could accompany teaching, but due to COVID-19 the music instructor has had to adapt once again to find new ways to keep everyone singing.
With some help from technology and adjusted teaching methods, the district choir teacher has been working towards building every singer’s voice individually.
“I can’t really think of a subject that is more impacted than music,” Lehmkuhl says, “simply because we can’t do what we do anymore.”
Now, his classes start with a group warm-up, except everyone’s on mute with the exception of Lehmkuhl. Then he sends his students off to do individual assignments, and having the students do more solo work this year has allowed Lehmkuhl to track their progress individually and gain insight into what students specifically need help with.
In past years, he only heard the sound of the whole group, but Lemkuhl now plans for a solo recital in the near future.
“I try to pay attention to what is going on in students’ lives the best I can,” adds Lehmkuhl. “This way, it is easier to connect with the students who I am helping work on college auditions, and this solo project will give me an opportunity to work with students one on one.”
Lehmkuhl conducts five different choirs: two at the high school, Chamber Choir and Concert Choir, and three at the middle school, Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, and Boys Choir.
In his free time, Lehmkuhl enjoys rollerblading along Scenic Drive in Carmel-By-The-Sea and catching up on his most recent favorite Netflix show, “The Queen’s Gambit.” He has tried to keep up on his own singing and recently performed the song “A Rhyme for Angela” in Aptos through Ensemble Monterey. Above all else, Lemkuhul enjoys spending time at home with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.
“COVID-19 took away a lot of our choices in terms of how we spend our time,” reflects Lehmkuhl. “In some ways, this is a good thing because I get to spend more time with what matters most: family.”