Keeping the Music Alive During COVID-19

Mar 25, 2020

With schools closed around the world in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, countless kids of all ages find themselves cooped up indoors, unable to attend classes, socialize with friends, or go to their music lessons.

Some kids are certainly happy with the extended break! No school, no homework, no tests, and hours upon hours of free time to spend doing whatever they please – as long as it’s indoors!

As students of all ages brace for this period of uncertainty, it’s important that they’re allowed to enjoy themselves. That begin said, this is no reason to stop all their musical activities. In fact, continuing their practice and lessons throughout this time will only add to their enjoyment, while also providing valuable continuing education in their passion – music!

Whether your child has big dreams of becoming a famous rock star, performing a recital at Symphony Hall, becoming the next big pop sensation, or just being the best musician they can be, music doesn’t stop when school does.

If you take a moment to look back over the past school year, you’ll start to see just how far your child as come in regards to their education – but learning isn’t confined to the classroom and the school year; knowledge is taken in every moment of every day. Likewise, building a love of music and developing the necessary skills are also things that don’t end with the school day.

Music stays with them wherever they go, wherever they are, and without continued practice, lessons, and performances, some of the new skills they gained during the year can be lost.

That’s why this week we’re looking at why it’s so important to keep up with music lessons during this crisis.

Sharpens & Sustains Skills

While in school, no matter the subject, kids often take regular tests to measure and maintain their skill level. The testing is done to ensure that they can immediately remember information they learned over the course of the past week. Quarterly testing makes sure they have mastered the lessons over the last few months, and so on.

Music should be treated exactly the same.

The very best way to keep the skills they learned over the year sharp is to exercise them on a regular basis. Their musical skills and knowledge should be in constant use, allowing them to recall past lessons while also growing and developing as a musician.

The Pressure is Off

For now, while this pandemic is in effect, the pressure of music class, at least, is off. If your music school is in a position that they can offer classes or lessons online, these classes have the advantage of being more relaxed and flexible, working around your schedule and keeping in line with your child’s expectations. While the value of each lesson doesn’t change much when they’re online, the learning atmosphere and structure often reflect a somewhat looser feeling, keeping students of all ages happy and excited to come back each week!

More Focus

Without all the pressure of the school year or in person classes, you might think it would be more difficult for students to stay focused on the task at hand during lessons. But the opposite is true! With a lighter school load and no school-related extra-curricular activities, student’s brains are actually primed to focus better. This makes it the perfect time to zero in on a specific goal and enjoy intense-but-fun practice sessions.

A Great Opportunity for a Special Project

The one aspect of all this that we can agree on is the hope that the current situation will be short-term, and we can all return to our normal activities soon. This (hopeful) shortness makes it an ideal time to trade in those weekly practice plans for a project-based approach.

Teacher and student can work together to devise one or two big goals to explore during their time together, which the student can work on at their own pace throughout this time. The project should feel fun and exciting for the student, and should focus on an area that they haven’t yet covered during the school year. Some examples of what this project might be include learning to improvise or to compose.

Right now is the perfect time to re-evaluate and ask your child to think about what they really enjoy about music, and what they would like to learn more about.

Project Ideas

  • Learn a more difficult pop song in an unfamiliar key signature.
  • Work with a new and/or specialized method or technique book.
  • Choose a composer or songwriter the student admires and learn three of their songs.
  • Write a medley of their favourite songs.
  • Explore a new and unfamiliar genre.
  • Focus on specific elements, like ear training or music theory, that don’t necessarily need a performance, but can help enhance the learning and musical experience in the long-term.

What if Online Lessons Aren’t Possible?

For many music schools, moving all their programs online simply isn’t feasible. That’s okay! There are ways to help keep your kids’ skills and knowledge where it should be, and even improving, during the time away from their usual music program.

The easiest way to keep your student focused – and really a good idea for any kind of extended absence – is to have the teacher and student agree on a few songs to make up the student’s “official repertoire.” The idea would be for your child to agree to continue to practice and do maintenance work throughout the time away to keep those songs in great performance shape. For accountability, the student would be expected to perform the songs in a sort of virtual mini-recital for their teacher periodically during this break.

It’s also a great idea to help your student explore the curiosities of music on their own, even if it means just listening to genres they’ve never considered before.

If online lessons or classes seem like the ideal solution to keep your student up to date while also giving them the freedom to have some fun during this time, look no further than The Music Studio!