2020 hit us as piano teachers and musicians causing everything to change and lessons moved online. When we started online lessons back in March, I had no idea how long this would last. I think by September I reckoned everything would be back to normal in person lessons! Going online was new territory for me as a piano teacher. Setting up equipment needed – microphones, overhead camera, Zoom, lighting – all became part of the ‘new normal.’
What I can say now, looking back, is that it was a huge learning curve for me and my students. Online piano lessons did work! We were making progress, hitting milestones and continuing our learning and exploring of music. Online lessons gives a lot of independence to my students. They are examining the score much more closely and following music independently, much more than before. We are engaged in a different, new way of communicating and sharing resources as we worked together over Zoom. I never would have thought, 10 months ago, that we would be thriving and enjoying piano during this pandemic despite the odds. My students celebrated their exam achievements in December, earning excellent marks in their video exam performances.
Online lessons have been a way of keeping in touch and learning really effectively. As a teacher, it has made me reflect on my approaches to teaching piano. The online lessons have made me re-evaluate how we learn piano and communicate effectively. I have started new students online, having never met them in person before. Our work has been rewarding and engaging – the power of music transcends even this pandemic with all the restrictions and lockdowns we have gone through. Music can take us to other worlds, emotions, feelings. Practice during this pandemic has been really successful and a great outlet for myself and my students. This pandemic has completely changed piano lessons forever. The possibilities of online learning have expanded and will influence teaching and learning long after this is behind us.