The good news is that they seem to have a vaccine for COVID. Which means things may return to “normal” in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, online teaching is probably here to stay. A lot of parents are excited about online lessons for their children as it saves time and travel. Some teachers, (myself included) enjoy the flexibility that online teaching provides.
For many teachers having a thriving piano studio, includes teaching preschool students. However, this may be the most challenging group to teach Online. I am here to tell you it can be done! You can successfully teach preschool students online. Here’s how I do it.
The set up.
A fast internet connection is the first and most important consideration when planning to teach anyone online. Below is some basic information on internet speed.
For 1:1 video calling
In this case, there are two people on the Zoom call; you and the person you are calling. 1:1 Zoom calls are common but not as common as Zoom meetings with multiple participants.
HD 720P Video
1080P HD Video
I use the zoom platform as this one enables both screen sharing and use of a webcam. I use an overhead webcam set up with a boom stand. I have an iPad for video and screen sharing. I use the Forscore app so that I can screen share music examples.
Student’s homes also need to have a decent internet speed. Before the lesson they can check their internet speed here. https://www.speedtest.net/
From the beginning I let parents know that their preschool child has to have a responsible older “helper” attending lessons and supervising music time between lessons. This person can be a parent, older sibling, grandparent, or caregiver. Most parents are more than happy about this. A piano lesson is a great opportunity for families to spend time together. Some parents even sign up for their own lesson.
The Piano Box
I love hands-on activities! I absolutely want my Online preschool students to have fun and learn using them. So, I make my favorite activities and snail-mail them to my student. Imagine, how psyched and excited your students and parents will be when they receive their “piano box”
Here is what I include:
Colorful popsicle sticks cut to the size of the groups of the two and three black keys on the piano and labeled 2 and 3.
Popsicle sticks labeled with letters A through G. These are used to find piano keys.
If you are reading this post I sincerely hope that you are doing Ok. I hope that you and your family are healthy and that your business hasn’t been impacted badly. But I have heard from more than a few teachers that this COVID pandemic has been problematic.
There is no debating that life has been challenging lately. Who could have imagined at this time last year that so many of us would be teaching online, or trying to figure out how to teach with masks on while social-distancing from our students. The bottom line is that things are challenging for us, for our students and for their parents and for us as well.
Here are some things that make life a bit easier. I will include links to the products and resources mentioned in this post.
1 – Get comfortable. Look around the house and find a good soft chair. You don’t want to spend three of four hours on your piano bench. Dress comfortably. Sweatpants and slippers are great. Besides, your students only see you from the waist up anyway.
2 – Grab your favorite beverage. I love coffee so I treat myself to a fresh hot cup before I begin teaching. One teacher jokingly said as long as you use a mug, they can’t tell what you are drinking. Pretty funny right? Well still, I think we’d better stick to coffee, tea, and nonalcoholic drinks.
Yep, I am teaching online these days and so are a lot of you. It’s not going too badly, actually, for me it’s going pretty well. Online teaching may have its limitations but there are many good things about it too. Here are the tips I use to be “The Happiest Online Piano Teacher in Town”
I always remind myself that “Words have power.” I believe this starts with the words we say to ourselves. I remind myself that online teaching is a blessing because I am still working, and I am still able to give the gift of music to my students.
2 Remember that you are still the same teacher whether in person or online.
Approach online teaching the same way you do in person teaching. Online teaching isn’t second best right now it IS the best and you are still the excellent teacher you were before. Maybe even better! I suspect virtual learning is here to stay and it opens up the whole world to piano students. More people have access to your excellent teaching than ever! Remember this and take it to heart.
“The Happiest Piano Teacher in Town” Empowering Teachers to Inspire Students.
“A Miracle is a shift in perspective.” The Monarch System
So what is perspective anyway? I think we all have some idea.
“A simple shift in your perspective about the importance or meaning of a particular event, or a shift in your belief about your capacity to cope with it positively, can change your focus and your emotional reality”. Definition from dictionary.com
I have discovered that perspective is just about everything in teaching and in life. My perspective is powerful. It determines what I believe and what I believe determines how I feel. How I feel impacts my outlook on life and my outlook on others. If I am feeling good and peaceful I can focus and get more accomplished. If I am enthusiastic and energetic I am more creative. My perspective is also contagious when I am happy and motivated the people around me are likely to be happy. and motivated, If I am excited they probably will be as well.
In short, I have found that the world around me turns out to be a reflection of what is going on inside of myself. This means that if I wish to have a vibrant joyful studio, I need to be a vibrant joyful teacher. For me, the key to this is to be able to maintain a positive perspective in any situation. Not only to think of new ways to do things but to see things that could be perceived as negative in a positive light.