Teaching Piano During Lockdown

Teaching Piano During Lockdown: it’s made us more creative!

The past 5 months have been a technology challenge for everyone, especially teachers. Quite simply: lockdown has made everyone more creative!

Making a sudden shift to teaching through a video camera and coping with time delay has been a big challenge.

They say you are never too old to learn! And that has been true for teachers: learning how to use multimedia technology smoothly.

Over the lockdown period Zoom was the choice to run my Wednesday night theory classes. Music theory props were created using flash cards, pennies on keyboards, and supersized notes on a stave.

Piano notes on stave
Piano notes on stave

In August I ran a week long course showing how the circle of fifths can be used to play 4 chord pop songs in any key. Andy (my technology guru) and I created an interactive pdf with 12 different choices to click on.

4 chord interactive PDF
4 chord interactive PDF

I also developped a brand new concept for working via video: reverse karaoke! A simple “melody with drums” backing tracks was created for the students using the record function in Whatsapp. Then, like Michael McIntyre: hit “Send To All!”

Students using Skype or Whatsapp, during lockdown, were shown examples using a transparent film over the music. Dry marker pens in various colours illustrated a particular note or rhythm. It made me think differently about how to show the student’s music through a lens.

Coloured pens on music
Coloured pens on music

With the schools reopening in September, all students are now able to learn either through video lessons, or return to face to face lessons again. But with a twist! With the help of Andy, a temporary protective screen has been created for teaching. It creates a safe barrier between myself and the student.

Protective Screen in lessons
Protective Screen in lessons

It is wonderful to see my returning students, plus new ones besides, face to face again. And I am delighted that everyone has stayed safe and well and sane in these challenging months.

Many of the creative changes brought about during lockdown will be integrated into everyday lessons. They will be added to my toolbox of tricks and surprises that I like to challenge my students with; just when they are least expecting it!

From September, the group Zoom lessons will be put on hold, so that I can fully focus on 1 to 1 teaching.

And depending on Governement guidelines, I am hoping to reintroduce Theory Classes in my lounge on Wednesday nights from January 2021 onwards: with everyone wearing safety visors! Who knows what devilish exercises I will have created for them by then 🙂