Monthly Archives: March 2020

Life in the Time of Cholera, er, Covid-19: Online Lessons

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Over the centuries the teaching a musical instrument has essentially changed very little. Except perhaps for repertoire, the violin lesson you see today could easily have taken place in the 18th century. So when I informed my students and their parents weeks ago that because of the current Covid-19 crisis here In Italy I was going to start giving lessons online, some of them protested strongly. It seemed like they thought I was trying cheat them, that doing lessons online wasn’t really “work” for me, and that such lessons wouldn’t be effective. They were mollified after I explained I have been teaching my grandsons successfully online for two years and, yes, it can be frustrating. There are less than ideal internet connections, you can’t hear as well as you would like, the tone can be distorted, you can’t see as well (really important with beginners), and there just isn’t the same exchange of energy that you have in a one on one situation, all of which mean that I actually have to work a lot harder than in a normal lesson situation.

To the skeptical few who still wanted to suspend lessons until “this is all over,” I pointed out that they have invested a lot of time and money in the musical education of their children and that it’s a pity to lose all the momentum we have created. Besides, who knows how long this health crisis will really last?

But then on talking more to all of them I found out what was really behind some of their protests: Continue reading

22 March 2020