After a few weeks now of online lessons, we are definitely enjoying staying connected with our PCS students, and we’d like to share how we see them growing in new and exciting ways.
Here are a few ways that online lessons are GROWING our students here at PCS:
Students are taking more responsibility for their own learning!
In prior months your lesson day may have looked like this: you reminded your child to get their lesson bag together (you might have even checked behind them to make sure no books were still on the piano or music stand OR perhaps you even packed the bag for them in a rush to get in the car for school!). You drove your child to lessons, reminded your child to make sure the books were still in the bag when they got to the studio, and perhaps even walked them into the waiting room.
We are noticing that online lessons are helping the STUDENT take more responsibility for what they are learning. Your music student is becoming more responsible for making sure that their music gets marked, that their music books are ready, and perhaps even writing down their own assignment! These are good things that can greatly benefit every student by helping them take an active, responsible role in our lesson time and even help them follow-through with informed practice throughout the week.
Question + answer = engagement!!
We love teaching music and our passion really shows in our lessons! Each student interacts so differently, but one thing about the online format that is different (in a good way) is that there is much more opportunity for your child to engage and interact!
Consider that they will have to follow instructions (like finding line 2 on page 2) more carefully than if the teacher was right beside them to point out a particular spot in their music! Online lessons usually have more asking and less “telling”… and that is a good thing! An interactive learning environment helps your child THINK and be engaged in what they are learning.
During online lessons, we may help students “warm” up their attention span with a silly exercise, do an “off bench” activity, or work on “play-backs” or “clap-backs” to strengthen ear-training. It’s OKAY if there’s more than just the “sound of music” happening. What your teacher is aiming for is engagement that sparks learning and excitement!
Real “musical” learning… flipping our focus!
Notes and rhythm aren’t the only things your child learns in music lessons, even though we expend a lot of effort to make sure that these two fundamentals are understood. After all, without notes and rhythm, music is much less “musical”!
Flipping our focus as teachers to making sure that a student understands what a phrase is, can play back a musical pattern (ear-training), can find expressive markings, or even understands how to number measures are important aspects of musical teaching, too! “Online” means that we get to shake things up just a bit to make lessons really fun by flipping our focus to a more complete understanding of everything on the page!!
Are we seeing progress? You bet we are!
Be assured that no matter how our lessons are delivered, your student will continue making progress if they are engaged in their lessons and practicing consistently in the days in between lessons! And we are hearing lots of great things, both in the lessons from students and from parents sharing that their student is putting the extra time at home to good use. The combination of the motivation from the lesson, invigorating new teaching techniques, and more time and focus on practice continues to have a huge impact on each student’s progress. We couldn’t be prouder!
The beauty of the familiar
Perhaps most importantly, the stability of being able to continue one “normal” activity is giving all of our students – from our Kindermusik babies to our retired adult students – a great deal of reassurance right now. There is much that is unpredictable in the world around us right now. We can choose to live in fear of the unknown and let that hold us back, or we can choose to be thankful for the good things that are still a part of our lives.
Let’s not lose sight of the things that have not “vanished” right now – the closeness of family and people who care for us, the beautiful ways that we can redeem the “extra” time that our students have been given right now, and the inspiration of music and making music that lifts our hearts!
– Special thanks to Amanda Moore, PCS piano teacher, for this post!