Online Music Lessons – Breaking Down Barriers
As the whole world went into lockdown, we noted with interest, that our younger pupils had no concerns whatever with changing over to online music lessons. They did not think twice about how they were going to cope with learning music through the use of technology. Parents were tremendously supportive and were immediately on board. Within a very short time, we had 95% of our younger pupils back. Singing lessons, piano lessons and theory lessons were soon in full swing. It was as though nothing had changed.
For our older pupils, however, online lessons seemed to be a hurdle. Despite sending out invitations to ‘give it a go’, many pupils either cancelled bookings or simply did not respond.
We began to speculate as to why these pupils were not interested in continuing with lessons. We wondered if pupils had no access to technology, but we soon discarded that idea. We realised we are fortunate to be living in an era where everyone has a phone or computer, and this was all one needed for a lesson to succeed. In response to this, we placed information on our website, derbymusicacademy.co.uk, which set out what prospective pupils would need for an online lesson. Still, many pupils remained reticent to book a slot.
At last, a couple of pupils took the plunge. We were so glad they did. Together we would learn so much. We needed to understand the tricky issues of online teaching with more complex musical needs, and so did they. Based on the success of these lessons of pupils working at much more advanced material than our younger pupils, and given that we received such positive feedback, we felt encouraged. And yet, our bookings remained at an all-time low.
Finally, one of our pupils verbalised concerns to us. “I feel embarrassed,’ she said. “Singing in my kitchen doesn’t feel the same as singing in a studio.”
Another pupil said, “My family have never heard me sing.”
This was not a problem for our uninhibited little ones, but it was certainly a problem for our older pupils. Thankfully, as time went on, many of them decided to try an online lesson. We even had online composition lessons and a lesson to support an A-Level Music student. To our delight, as we all grew in confidence, everyone began to sing and play with abandon.
Self-assurance grew for all parties in small steps, but we were thrilled that it grew at all! It showed us that the ‘weirdness’ of not being in our studio, was not so weird after all. It showed us that people loved singing so much, they were prepared to break down the barriers and put aside insecurities of singing in front of family members. It showed us that in lockdown, more than ever, people needed to make music and be creative! We remain privileged to have the opportunity to work together with our pupils to keep their progress and learning at a high standard.
But mostly, we are privileged to see the smiling faces of more and more of our students returning to their lessons, despite lockdown. Daily, their progress, kindness, understanding and friendliness lifts our spirits. And most of all, the pleasure of the music we make together, brings us all great joy.