A little bit of humor is always appreciated when times are tough. Some of the funniest things we’ve seen since local school districts closed their buildings and went to online learning are parents’ posts about teaching their kids in the new homeschool environment (meaning the kitchen table). Many of us at Meyer Music are parents, too, and share the same desire to stab our eyes out when helping our kids with their math homework.
All kidding aside though, it’s easier to homeschool some subjects than others. Math, language arts, social studies, science—all can be learned solo. All are considered core classes. But, the electives, like theater, art and music, are the classes that students look most forward to during the normal school day. Unfortunately, these are difficult subjects to translate to online learning.
The Meyer Music staff is in constant communication with Kansas City Metro music teachers and band and orchestra directors. Each school district is handling band and orchestra curriculum differently. In many cases, band and orchestra directors who teach in the same district have the leeway to conduct their classes online how they see fit.
Since band and orchestra classes are dependent on musicians being together, teachers are focusing on maintaining group connections. Even with today’s video conferencing technology, it’s nearly impossible for students to practice online together as they would in the band or orchestra room.
Musicians gotta make music. If students didn’t enjoy playing their instruments, they wouldn’t enroll in music. As a parent, you’ve seen the passion, you’ve heard the many hours of practice, and you’ve probably noticed your child misses his or her band or orchestra friends.
Maybe it’s time for enrolling in online music lessons?
Student musicians depend on mentorship and training from their directors and fellow students to improve their playing. A worldwide health crisis has closed the schools where students have what they need to learn best. All of the spring concerts, events, competitions and summer music camps are canceled, leaving musicians on their own to advance to the next level, not to mention missing the social aspects of being with “their tribe.” Many parents wouldn’t know a half note from a quarter note, much less a time signature, so frankly, they’d choose tutoring math over band or orchestra.
READ: Local Music Directors Share Practice Tips and Activities During Social Distancing
At the moment, who knows what summer marching band looks like this year. Will schools open this fall only to be shut down again for the second pandemic wave? While we all like to hope for the best and imagine our kids will be back under the expert direction of their “real” teachers soon enough, the reality is that we just don’t know.
Neither do our kids.
Not a single band or orchestra director we’ve talked to has the bandwidth to provide individual instruction to all their students. Technology, advanced as it is, isn’t conducive to group practice. Plus, most school districts officially end the school year by May’s end. Summer means even fewer opportunities for your band or orchestra student to pick up his or her instrument.
We have a headline we use quite a bit: Music Lessons Matter.
Considering what student musicians are missing — physically, psychologically and emotionally — when they are not in school, that headline should be Music Lessons Matter More Than Ever. There is no substitute for being together and making music. However, online music lessons fill an important role.
More than 2,000 music students choose Meyer Music for lessons every week, and about 50 percent of those lessons happen online. We hear from our music teachers, students and their parents that virtual music lessons are the highlight of the week. For students, online music lessons are a chance to connect with a teacher, improve their musicianship and get opportunities to push themselves. For parents, it’s a much-needed break in the home school schedule.
Meyer Music’s vetted, quality instructors have adapted quickly to giving music lessons online. They understand the role music plays in their students’ lives, and provide engaging lessons just as they do in person. Of course, students already connect well with others through technology. While online music lesson instructors do not re-create the feeling of being with an entire band or orchestra, they do connect with students on an individual level.
Especially right now, connections are everything. We are all overwhelmed by the new reality of online school, of the uncertainty of resuming in the fall and with trying to keep young musicians advancing in what they love. Enrolling in online music lessons is one way to make a connection for your student and restore a sense of normalcy and balance in each week.
Taking private music lessons from Meyer Music now is more than about improving the mechanics of your students’ musicianship; it’s about encouraging passion, sharing the joy and building the relationships associated with music.
Would you love to learn more about our music lessons? Give your nearest Meyer Music location a call.