I first thought about positive changes in 2020 when I read a notice from a teacher saying she didn’t want things to go back the way they were before Covid. As I read a little more and thought about how working from home instead of teaching in person has affected me, my students, and my parents, I realized something important.
Never before have I had the availability to send my students messages so quickly, answer their questions right when they have them, remind them of their theory assignments, or listen to pieces and make suggestions for improvements. This is an unprecedented time for music teachers, and I’ve started using apps like Tonara to help teach students and respond more quickly.
Do I want things to go back the way they were before? No.
Would I like to see my students in person again? Absolutely!
Before all this, we would not have needed access to tools like Tonara, but with the limits and challenges we have had to overcome we’ve adapted in ways that have permanently changed things for the better. And here I must say “Thank you!” over and over to parents, who have more than borne the brunt of staying home and venturing out into the world day to day to do your job and take care of your family, all while keeping your children engaged.
As a parent you often find yourself responsible for helping them adapt to their online school and homework, battle their depression while missing their very best friends, and seeming to put their plans and aspirations (like performing in the school musical, or in the school choir, or marching in the school band or playing in the school orchestra) on a big hold. These activities may not have transferred online well at all, but we are all working on solutions while anxiously awaiting the day we can all meet in person to sing, practice, and perform together!
So, while we wait for school and activities to go back to in-person reality, let us think carefully about the wonderful improvements we have all made and experienced!
Asynchronous Music Lessons
Here’s one you might not know: piano lessons asynchronous (what is that?)! That is subscribing to a teacher’s lessons and listening/taking pre-recorded lessons at your own pace in your own schedule whenever you are best available instead of always waiting for your schedule and your teacher’s availability to match up. This seems to work best for older students – especially adults who are more leisurely about learning but have control over their own self-discipline and motivation, and like a more anonymous way of learning.
Online Piano Lessons
Then there are online piano lessons online with a live teacher that now have the same – maybe even more – benefits than before. Online recitals allow all your family and friends to see your performances. You can do your Guild Auditions and/or Royal Conservatory exams online for performance as well as theory, and you can consult with teachers anywhere in the world!
Collaborating with Students and Teachers Around the Country
Recently, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to meet remotely with students from the East Coast, mid-America, and the Pacific NW and collaborate with teachers from everywhere to discover which classes work best online. For instance, some students who have ADHD or autism often work better in a familiar environment and have really been excelling with online lessons! Students with busy schedules who have used to have a hard time getting to lessons because mom or dad get hung up at work no longer have scheduling problems, so lessons can be more regular and scheduling conflicts are practically a non-issue.
Online Piano Conventions
Online piano conventions for teachers – wow, where do I begin? Now MTNA (Music Teachers National Association https://www.mtna.org/) is hosting their second totally online convention and you do not have to buy plane tickets, pay for a hotel for 5 nights, or budget for eating out and transportation.
Then there’s Tonara, our new app for music teachers and their studios and students, which hosted one outstanding InspirED Conference in December and will host another InspirED Summit this March. The chance for teachers to confer, learn, and network is more amazing than ever before and all of this translates to better opportunities and training for students as well!
- Education is available online – right at your fingertips
- Questions answered online any time of the day or night (I remember having questions when I was a student and had to wait for the library to open to try to find a book to answer my questions!)
- Communication with people all over the world – giving us the opportunity to learn whatever we desire from the original source
Keeping up with technology is the new mantra, but we would not have these possibilities had our entire lives not been turned upside down, our framework for day-to-day living upended and recreated for us, and our vital need to move ahead within our current parameters and limitations. Throughout this tragedy, we have evolved. We have more knowledge and tools than ever before. All we have to do is continue to adapt – and our children are way ahead of us with no limits to what they will achieve in the future.
Kudos to everyone!!