Virtual Violin Lessons: Adapting to a Global Pandemic
This March, our world was turned upside down when Coronavirus made its way to the USA. Schools closed and online learning became the new normal. While this was a massive upheaval, my students and I have come to really appreciate the many tools of virtual teaching.
One of my favorite tricks is using the Zoom virtual whiteboard. In the past, I would draw this on my studio whiteboard and you'd see that my artistic capabilities don't extend beyond music 😆 With the drawing tools, I can create introduce complicated music theory and simplify them by creating worksheets to share with my students. Below is when I introduced my Book 4 student to the the 6/8 time signature and all about subdividing the beat.
I particularly appreciate the whiteboard because I can save my drawing as a PDF and send it to my students to print at home. Neat!
In most studio lessons, I'd help my students by writing notes and reminders directly into their sheet music. With virtual lessons, students are independent and in charge of taking their own notes. However, it doesn't mean that I can't help. I scanned my sheet music onto my computer and use the Zoom screen share and annotation tool to point out notes and draw in bowings. Many of my students text me a picture of their own sheet music before we begin our lesson so it's even easier for them to find their place. This tool has been invaluable!
PreTwinklers (children ages 3-6) initially struggled with having a full day of online school and then virtual lesson. I was able to find new ways to capture their attention and it was a big hit! Instead of singing the parts of the bow song, I decided that we would draw a bow together and label the parts. My PreTwinkler absolutely adored this change of pace and his smile made my day! (Though, please excuse my incorrect spelling of, "eyelet")
With this book 4 student, we needed to remember to add vibrato to important notes. I used the heart stamp and put a twist on it: "Give some love to these notes!" We got such a good laugh out of it and she played the section beautifully.
How have you adapted to lessons during Covid-19? If you have any tips for virtual lessons, share them below. If you're new to Zoom and virtual lessons, check out my previous blog post where I walk you through a very (very) quick YouTube tutorial.