Hello my friend. I very much hope you, your family, your friends, your teachers, and your students are healthy and well.
Today’s post is not what I had originally planned, but given the unprecedented time we’re in, I felt it would not be prudent to share what I had originally planned. It’s day will come, but for now I’d like to discuss online lessons with you.
My entire studio (5 teachers and myself) will be transitioning to online lessons next week. We’ve done online lessons before for students who are sick or who’s parents aren’t able to bring them in, but never to this scale. And I’m finding that a lot of teachers who don’t specialize in online lessons are struggling to wrap their minds around how this can be beneficial to their students, so I polled some online music teachers about the benefits of teaching online. Here are their top 10 responses.
1. Continuous Learning
It’s well established that music is best learned uninterrupted, continuing online when not able to meet in person keeps students from losing progress that they worked so hard to achieve.
2. Keeps normalcy
With so many other things changing in their world, children appreciate their normal lesson with their music teacher. And this is one of the few activities right now that some children CAN continue.
3. At-Home Set Up
You get to see their at home set up and offer suggestions and guidance for improvement.
Parents & kids, and adult students, love how easy it is to jump online. A 30 minute lesson takes 30 minutes, no drive time no waiting because you had to get there early. Parents can make dinner or do household tasks. Student’s get to play in the comfort of their own home, where they practice…which leads me to my next point.
5. Playing Their Own Instruments
Unlike other instrumentalists, pianists almost NEVER get to play their own instruments. With online lessons, however, their playing on their piano in their practice space. How much better does it get than that?
6. Playing an instrument eases anxiety.
I’m just gonna leave that one here.
7. Online Lessons Can Feel Different
Stay with me here, it’s not a bad thing. A change like this can put a spark back into their lessons. If you have a student who has been blasé, this could be the change they need to reignite their love for their instrument!
8. Attention and Focus Are Developed
Students engage differently with teacher, music & instrument. They have to listen carefully & watch more more attentive & aware. We as their teachers have to choose our words more carefully. It actually motivates the students to stay more focused and pay better attention to the details.
9. Independence Skills
You are not there to physically point to a note on the page, so they have to learn to find the note you're talking about. Students have to turn their own pages, they have to learn to count measures, write their own assignments and notes. It seriously ups the responsibility game.
10. It’s Super Fun
No really, it’s so much fun! As one teacher said, "Kids are amazing and funny and creative. Run with that!" Play games using their instruments as the game board. Have flashcards dance across the screen. Be silly. Be enchanting. Be compelling. Be YOU!
One Word: Pajamas!
You get to wear pajamas and you get to wear pajamas and you get to wear pajamas and you get to wear pajamas!
Which benefit do you like the most? Which one do you see fitting your students/studio the most?
Download a PDF of this list to share with your studio parents and teachers.
I love giving my students in lesson challenges. Sometimes they run for a month or two, sometimes a couple of weeks. This is a one lesson challenge.
Wendy Stevens has a number of great resources on her website ComposeCreate.com. I found her set of snowman flashcards several years ago and have used them every winter since.
The basic principle is to match the top to the correct bottom. This set covers many levels of learners. They come with intervals, white keys, note names on the staff (up to 2 ledger lines!), and steps & skips.
Best part? They're free!
When I first used these flashcards in lessons, I didn't think to time my students until a little one asked how fast he did it compared to himself previously, and his 2 sisters.
And so, The Great Snowman Challenge was born!
I created a simple spreadsheet to track my students' times and had each student choose two categories to complete.
Here are a few things I love about this challenge:
1. It takes less than 5 minutes of lesson time including setup and cleanup.
2. My students get instant feedback about their learning.
3. I get a good view of my students current strengths & weaknesses.
An extra bonus is my kids seriously love this challenge!
Wondering about rules? I only have 1: Everyone must start with their hands on their heads!
If you're looking for an alternative activity, Sara Campbell over at Sara's Music Studio uses these flashcards to play Go Fish with her students. You can find more about it on her blog post.
Here's a link to the free snowman download: Snowman Flashcards
Here's the link to my tracker: The Great Snowman Challenge Tracker