This is an unusual time.
In my studio all lessons, and even early childhood music classes, have moved online for everyone’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I love the way the Suzuki community is rallying together to help each other figure out technology so we can keep making music and keep connecting with the students and families we work with.
As we all settle into to a new, for now, normal I keep thinking about how we work with our students right now, and I don’t mean just the technology.
We are not just teaching online; we are teaching during a pandemic and out of necessity happen to be doing it online.
I think it is important to remember some of the following.
We (and the families we work with) may not have the ideal equipment right now or love the way the different platforms we are using transmit sound.
We should do everything we can to work with what we have & make the experience the best we can. Maybe we can upgrade or ask families to, but for some this isn’t an option.
Keeping perspective is super important. If we are teaching in an unusual short term situation, please do the best with what you have and don’t feel bad.
Different families are dealing with varying levels of stress – let’s be aware of teaching the individual student and working with the individual family.
A parent may be out of work or trying to figure out their work at home with kids underfoot.
Others may have a wide-open schedule and no such constraints or worries.
A parent may be on the front lines in a medical capacity, and there is stress about the health and well being of everyone at home. Or, may be separated from their family to keep everyone safe.
Others may have no such worry.
A family member or parent may get sick taking a lot of emotional energy and resources from the family.
Others may be simply keeping their distance at home and may even have extra time and energy to practice right now.
Please – let’s teach the student and family in front of us.
What do they need?
Plenty of assignments to keep them occupied with lots of time on their hands?
To find a way to connect with music for enjoyment or stress relief?
To have a simple plan?
Or maybe a more detailed robust one?
What does that family – looking through the device at you or sending videos back and forth with you need to make this work?
How can we help them along to the best of their ability while supporting what they need and how music can help rather than overwhelm them right now.
Yes, teach online in the highest quality way you can right now.
Invest in equipment if you can and want to.
But investing in the students and the families we work with and meeting them where they are with equal amounts of empathy, understanding, and inspiration is the thing that is truly what is needed right now.
A note to parents: if you see yourself in any of the descriptions above please have an open conversation with your teacher. I personally would want to know how I can support my students and families through this time, and sometimes we just don’t know what everyone’s personal situation is.
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