The pandemic has shown us that we can do many things from home. Online instrument lessons are one of them. In the period from March to June, the classes in our school were mostly online and functioned flawlessly.
We are the most proud of our online concerts, where both children and adults performed, while some of them were not even in Serbia at that time. On the other hand, the audience listened to us from as many as a dozen countries around the world.
After this intense three-month experience with online classes, we felt the need to share our experiences with you to help you decide on them.
Namely, in addition to the standard online classes that we held for our students who were in Belgrade, during the pandemic period, we were joined by students who live in other countries. With the developed teaching techniques of online teaching, we realized that this teaching with good organization can be a very good replacement for live teaching.
Read all about our experience with online classes and become part of our school, wherever you are. Maybe your children will appriciate to learn music in their mother language, all with the opportunity to take internationally recognized exams.
Online lessons at the First International Music School “Eva”
There are numerous prejudices that we ourselves had before this experience. Some of them are:
- during online classes it is not possible to make good contact with the student,
- online classes are not efficient enough, and therefore
- children quickly lose motivation and
- there is a possibility of giving up.
After the first lessons, which went smoothly, and after about half a month, there was a natural saturation with this type of teaching. It turned out that all our assumptions were more or less correct.
It was a bit harder with the younger students than with the older ones, but the problems were somewhat similar.
How to overcome the disadvantages of online lessons?
When we are having a standard lesson, in the classroom, it is much easier for us to feel the student’s mood, especially the moment when he gets tired. Then, with a light conversation on a current topic, we can easily regain his attention, and the rest of the class goes smoothly.
As online classes take away some of our spontaneity because we are focused on other things due to occasional technical problems – a sound that is late, maybe even an unfavorable camera view, often the contact with the student goes into the background.
There are several solutions to this problem, and we advise:
- plan a break in advance, preferably somewhere in the second half of the class,
- when you see that the student is tired, circle the whole you worked on, and feel free to shorten the class by five minutes
A planned break or a slight shortening of the class will help the student not to get overwhelmed and to gladly “come” to the next class. If we cross the limit of his patience and quality attention, there is a good chance that his resistance to this type of teaching will gradually grow.
Cooperation with parents
When online classes started, parents often listened lessons because of help with technical matters, and we have to admit that they were of great help to us.
As they themselves were participants in the class, they often helped classes to be more successful by motivating their children. They encouraged them to listen to the teacher, but also helped with technical problems that occasionally gave us all trouble.
Under normal circumstances, the presence of parents in class can be counterproductive, but in this case, probably due to the physical distance with the professor, the parental presence strengthened the teacher’s authority.
In addition, it was convenient to have an ally who always remembers all homework.
As public performances in our private music school are central events during the school year, even in these circumstances we did not want to deny it to our students.
That’s why we held two online concerts via the Zoom app. The experience was very emotional and beautiful. All students waited with great attention for their turn in their homes, ready to perform and listen to their colleagues.
In the first moments, there were technical problems that we overcame along the way, but a halo of good mood and good energy prevailed. We were all satisfied and the students performed successfully this time as well.
It turned out that holding these concerts was very important for all of us. Thanks to them, we did not fall into the trap of monotony, and in a situation when most of us did not even leave our apartments for months, it was a kind of holiday.
What was an additional bonus was that the number of visitors was not limited, and since some of our students belong to the international community, some children could be listened to by friends and relatives who in normal circumstances would never have the opportunity to hear them live.
It is clear to everyone that nothing can replace live instrument teaching, but after everything we have gone through, we find that online teaching is a very good replacement.
In times of pandemic, when many things are impossible for us, it is wonderful that thanks to modern technology, we get the opportunity not to stop playing and learning.
And even when the pandemic passes, the very possibility that a student does not have to change a teacher the moment he changes his residence or that a class can be held on days when there is no one to bring a child to school, gives us all additional security.
At the same time, the ability to teach our children around the world is a special benefit. In addition to the fact that such classes can be financially more favorable than in the country where you currently live, it is also possible to maintain linguistic and cultural ties with your home country.