I am now 7 days into teaching online through Skiype and Face Time in my studio. This week has already smoothed out quite a bit from this time last week. For one thing, I’ve found everyone’s address or they’ve found mine. Last week everyone had a lesson but there were a few late starts due to communication snafus. That seems to have ironed out. Last night I completed a call and ran for a minute out of the studio. I returned to the studio to start another call, and voila, my student had dialed in and was sitting on my screen waiting for me. We’ve come a long way. I know several teachers in my area are working with Zoom as are many other instrumentations.
By last weekend I decided that I wanted to work on something that we would have let slide longer had all the festivals and activities still been held. That was theory. I find myself behind at this time of year on skills. I also had grown restless thinking of a way to maximize their learning time without initially using theory books that tend to go slowly and repeat a lot of material in the early books. Often a book takes a year and they are older still getting to book 4. I decided my plan was to create packets of worksheets and explanation sheets that condense those early books and allow to begin theory study in books much earlier. So far these sheets I found are available online for free. I was able to get an elementary, intermediate and advanced packet ready for each student and put them in envelopes outside my door, along with a few books students needed. I included a “Parents” envelope for tuition checks. This would enhance their homeschooling and give another packet of resources for parents to use. Win-win for both parents and my theory program.
My parents have shared how stressful it is to both be working at home and pulling resources for their children. At least there’s an online piano lesson for 45 minutes a week and an extra packet of theory resources. Everyone will be better off at least in theory because of the shutdown. I would not have been inspired to do this otherwise. I’d still be running around to festivals. Our school system just announced they will be closed until May 15th and other states have already closed for the year. Now is a great time to come up with a project your students can do at home. Composer hunt? Crossword puzzles, etc. can easily be uploaded and attached to emails for parents as a courtesy to give them something else to include in their day. Online school through the public school system (except for high school) seems to be minimal and short–maybe an hour daily.
What a great opportunity we have to add to our worth for our families. I have found that anything is appreciated. At least my students and I can see each other every week and keep the flow going. I’m hopeful we will be able to have our June recital. If not, we will aim for a fall celebration when we are over the major issues with the virus. I plan to incorporate another packet in a month, perhaps late April to add to what we have already done.
Keep Calm and Teach On!
Dr. Carol Ann