Dear Pianists and Teachers,
It is clear that until a vaccine is readily available for Covid-19, recitals, festivals and music student activities will likely take a new shape at least for the coming school year. As I begin my summer session next week, I have realized that I must be even more pro-active with summer study in anticipation for altering festival plans this coming year.
For example, I have always started our NCMTA state festival repertoire duirng the summer months. Given that I am transitioning to in-studio lessons this summer and following my state’s school opening and closings guidelines (matching them) I realize it is even more important for me to offer a pro-active summer program. Introducing new repertoire in studio is definately easier than attempting fingering instruction and technical approach online. I’ve taught these past three months online as have almost all of you. We learned new music during that time. It has worked pretty well, but especially for our youngest and more advanced students, there can be special challenges.
Our Youngest Students: Keyboard geography and where the hands are placed can be challenging online. I realized just the other day just how many words are required to get a student to place their 3rd finger on Ab, particularly if they are not sure where Ab is! “Put your third finger on the middle black key for the three black key group.” It becomes highly verbal, doesn’t it? Preparing festival music earlier than usual could be a blessing in making new music more accessible. Particularly for students preparing multiple pieces, some lessons before another possible shutdown is essential. For those of you keeping your studios online throughout the summer, you still need more time in order to get the opening details of new literature in place.
Upper Intermediate and Early Advanced Students: Here is where fingering intricacies and technical approach need additional care and time especially if we spend any time at all online this school year. In fact, music selection choices should be considered with these additional challenges in mind.
We have no idea how each state in the United States and each country will progress with Covid 19. Infection numbers will likely go up and down, school starting in August and September is another huge factor as students and parents begin to venture back to schools and offices. The words for this coming school year is FLEXIBILITY and PRO-ACTIVE APPROACHES!
More than ever before, this summer is golden for us to Anticipate–Plan–Find Flexible Solutions. May we have more patience and creativity as we move forward as a teaching community. Be sure to recharge this summer as I know I certainly have experienced more fatigue teaching online.
Carol Ann Barry