I hope you all are well. Here in Michigan, we are in the midst of BEAUTIFUL summer weather and it feels as if the worst of the pandemic is behind us (which I would certainly like to believe is true!). The current full vaccination rate in the state of Michigan is 46%, which is also the current rate in the U.S. as a whole (as of June 2021). In my local county, the full vaccination rate is even higher at 60% and the rate of reported Covid-19 cases per day is down to low single digits.
With these facts in mind, I have started transitioning a few of my students from online lessons to in-person lessons at my home studio. (You might recall — 75% of my students are in Ohio from before I moved and they will remain online.) I am taking a number of precautions, because I would much prefer to err on the side of caution and keep everyone healthy if I can help it!
In case you happen to be in the same position and might find this useful, below is the wording I used to communicate my precautions and expectations to parents via email.
How are your lessons going? I imagine many of you are continuing to teach online, while some of you have returned to in-person lessons — depending upon where you live, among other factors.
Currently, my lessons are still online, using FaceTime/Zoom. I have 15 students who are based in Northwest Ohio (where I lived before moving last December). I am teaching them online until I feel it is safe to resume teaching at the small studio space I was renting.
I also have two Michigan-based students, so far. When the quarantine arrived, my husband and I changed our original plans in terms of marketing my piano studio after our move and childcare for our baby daughter, Aria. When things become more “normal” (whatever that means!), I will at some point begin more actively seeking new students. For now, I’m okay with the change in plans and am content with my current home life and teaching life!
Earlier this summer, I saw a few Instagram posts from piano teachers who thought to offer “porch recitals” or “patio lessons.” Inspired by this out-of-the-box thinking, I decided I’d like teach lessons for my two Michigan students outside on my back patio for a time or two, just for fun. So, I started closely watching the weather forecasts.
It’s been a hot summer, but last week I finally saw an opportunity. The weekend weather was supposed comfortably in the 70s. So, I emailed my two Michigan students. They loved the idea!
And so, last Saturday, we had in-person outdoor lessons on my back patio. And it was wonderful! It was nice to be face-to-face and enjoy the beautiful weather as well. I hope to do this again a time or two before the winter weather hits.
Do you have a portable instrument and an outdoor space for something like this? In this blog post, I’ll share some ideas and a to-do list in case you’d like to try something similar yourself!
How are you doing, fellow teachers? How are you finding your physical and emotional well-being during this Covid-19 pandemic? And how is your teaching going? Remote teaching certainly carries its joys and challenges, does it not?
This is intended as a followup to my previous article, Teaching Piano During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Many of us now have a few weeks’ worth of remote lessons under our belts. Hopefully, you are feeling fairly comfortable with your teaching setup (Are you keeping it simple, as I suggested in my article?), and perhaps you might even be feeling ready to make a few incremental improvements to your arrangement! It’s not looking like we will be back to in-person teaching very soon, so why not experiment a little, right? 🙂
And, of course, let’s make sure we are taking care of ourselves. There are small tweaks we can make to ensure our comfort and well-being during long stretches of teaching.
As before in my previous article, I am again not necessarily recommending purchasing expensive new equipment at this time. Instead, I’d like to share some ideas for simple, easy ways to upgrade your setup using mostly items you probably already have around the house.
The suggestions in this article range from the simple to the more involved, and they are addressed in that order. Don’t try them all, and certainly not all at once. Instead, select an idea here and there, and see where that takes you.
Please join me in taking care of ourselves first, so that we can then take care of our families and students well!
1. Sit Comfortably
Are you sitting on a backless piano bench while you teach over the internet? Why not swap it out for a more comfortable chair?
Using a chair with back support will help prevent soreness. If you use a computer chair, you’ll have the benefit of being able to swivel between the piano keyboard and your nearby resources — saving your neck!
2. Prevent Vocal Fatigue
Are you finding yourself talking louder than usual when teaching via the internet, and suffering from a sore throat by the end of the day? Here’s a few suggestions to help alleviate this issue.