Like many people in the last year, I have had to up my online game to be able to continue working. This has created challenges not only for myself, but I can also see that many of my young students have difficulties with the online learning process. While I miss seeing my students face to face and the wonderful interactions that that brings, I have found myself thinking up new ways to help make online teaching work. Once again necessity is the mother of invention.
While many people are stressed by online work and are tired of Zoom meetings, there are particular challenges presented by teaching music online. Because of the lag time on the internet, you cannot sing along with your student or accompany them. While I have invested in better quality equipment my end, I have no control over the equipment that my students may be using or how the internet may be behaving at the time of the lesson.
One of my principal ways of teaching, is making music with a student so that they have the experiences of what the music really sounds and feels like. I can modify what I am doing all the time to help increase the success of what my student is doing.This is not possible online. While I can easily schedule shorter lessons twice weekly to help students manage screen time, I have developed other new ways of helping my students continue to enjoy their music lessons. I have also noticed how my listening and observational skills have increased as I have to use them in a very detailed way for online learning.
The obvious advantage of online work is that it allows me to teach students all over the world. It also makes it possible for people with disabilities to have lessons, as they are no longer dependent on someone to drive them to my studio.
New students are signing up for lessons as a way of enriching their lives, and managing the stresses of dealing with the current health crises.