Four Examples of Kid-Friendly Music Apps Amidst the Corona virus pandemic (And Links So You Can Share Them)
Practice! If you wish your preschoolers would do some piano playing at home between lessons, you may assign them homework. You may have even asked their parents to help.
But these extreme times are causing extreme stress and disrupting the best-laid plans and parenting! Many kids are overwhelmed by new expectations and more lessons at home than ever. And they feel the worries of their parents. They're crying, claiming not to be able to do things they were able to do before, and generally behaving out of anxiety and stress. And it's killing the motivation to practice piano.
To add to that, parents are distracted by having to work from home, or having to look for new work if they lost jobs because of Covid-19 related restrictions. So they aren’t thinking to remind their kids to go to the piano very often or spend time with them at the piano. Even if you have encouraged them to manage their time, put practice on their calendars - they may be falling away from it given these extraordinary distractions.
If you feel practice is truly a lost cause but you still want your students to get musical engagement, here's a workaround.
One of the ways they can keep learning without adding stress is digital games!
So I'm sharing four (4) music apps young kids love. You can be a hero to your students by sharing them. They've been designed for age 3 to 6.
1) Music4Kids - Learn and Compose Music Through Play
2) Kids Music Piano
3) Waay: Learn music theory
4) Flashnote Derby
Please enjoy, and comment below with how they respond?
Today's tip is about how to manage usually well-behaved children who usually listen.
But who do not understand that when you ask them not to bang on the piano. So this is a problem because it frustrates you as the teacher. Number one, it interrupts the flow of the group. If you're speaking and you want the children to hear what you're saying, or if you were supposed to be demonstrating something or their student was supposed to be demonstrating something on the piano, instead of focusing on the tune or the rhythm, now you're focusing on their attitude or the overuse of things.
Power on the piano. So it interrupts you. It interrupts the flow of teaching for both the student and the other kids in the group who are watching him. And we all know how it is in a group, how naughtiness can be like a Tinder. Someone can strike it off and then it spreads. And then you have an out of control fire of naughtiness in your classroom.
So let's talk about how we can nip this piano banging in the bud. Now I've heard some teachers, and I've been tempted myself to try the trick of beginning to close the piano lid over the hands of the person who's banging. That's something, but I think that it's not as constructive as it could be because as I've said before, one of the things that we need to help younger children to become better learners in our piano classes.
So that we can enjoy teaching younger children in our class is getting them to commit. And a commitment involves a choice and a positive action. So if you're putting the lid of the piano down on their hands, that's not their choice. And that's not a positive action. So I'm going to give you a tool that you can use.
You can install this tool with your group and then you can remind them of it and let them pick it up again and use it positively instead of negatively, which is don't do that. Stop doing that. Or physically stopping them from banging on the keys. And this is that tool. That tool is a song that I like to think of as.
Think of something quiet. This is actually words that you can put on top of the tune that I've introduced to you as my hello tune, which is, it's so good to see you. I really couldn't wait. No, I'll shake my head while I count to eight so that tune, we can use that tune with the words. Think of something quiet.
So I'll give you an example of what that sounds like. It's all good to see you. I really caught in Wade. Would you think of something quiet while like how to aid one, two, three, four, eight. So that's the song you can sing. And then you can ask your students after the song. What did they think of? Some of them will say they thought of a bear.
They thought of a cat. They thought of a ball of cotton. They thought of a cloud. You can suggest to them some things that you think are quiet too. You could tell them that you think, um, you think a pillow is quiet. Or you think, um. The door to the closet when the closet is already closed is quiet. So give them suggestions of things that are quiet and then you can ask them to show you what it's like to pick up that quiet thing and you'll see them making light.
Smooth motions with their bodies when they're going to pick up this quiet thing, because most quiet things are light and soft, right? So ask them to pick up this quiet thing and watch how they move. And then you can ask them now to go to the piano and pretend that the keys are the quiet thing. So if they said that a feather was there, quiet thing, can you touch the keys like a feather?
Let me see. You touched the keys like a feather. So after each of them has gotten a chance to go to the piano and touch the keys, like they're quiet thing, then they know what their quiet thing is, right? So if ever you get to a point where you're noticing that people are starting to get hard and heavy with their hands on the keys, you can say, could you play like something quiet?
And then they'll remember their quiet thing and they'll start using their hands in that quiet way, not just their hands, but their arms, their shoulders, their, the rest of their body in that quiet way. So think of some quiet things. Think of how you can use this song as part of a lesson in your group with your younger students and think how wonderful it would be if you could immediately turn your kids from wildly experimenting with how heavy and hard they can be on the piano.
With experimenting with how soft and gentle and slow and careful they could be on the piano. I hope you really enjoyed this tip and when you get a chance to try it, please do write a note in the comments because I'd like to know how it worked for you and if you hit a snag, I'd like to give you some ideas of how to go forward.
So that it can really be effective for you. This is something that I think takes a couple of lessons before it's really installed and really can work for good. But then when it does work for good, it's always yours to use.
What's the best narrow range song for young piano players to play? And I loved that question. I love that question because it talks about, um, connecting in a way that's really important for really young students, for pre-K students.
And so today I want to share with you a resource where you can find new arrange songs that are perfect for young piano students, and then also some ideas for how to connect. Breathe and move with those resources for your students. Okay. So, um, before I go, I'm just going to tell you the name of the resource.
The name of this resource is called sing it yourself, and it's by Luis Bradford. And this book came out a long time ago. It came out in the 70s. And it's a really beautiful resource because it's, um, a lot of folk songs. And so now that you know the name of the book and the author, I'm going to go into why this book is a perfect resource to help you find narrow range songs for your young piano students.
Okay? A lot of genius in this book. So the book has folk songs that are pentatonic. So that means that the folk songs, um, are following five tones, Dota, Amy, so LA, and those are five tones that are pretty easy for kids to sing. In fact, young children. Are able to audiate that means their musical mind is able to easily manipulate, um, those tones.
I'm under age five, especially when they're in descending patterns. Um, but also if they're in our patios when they're still young. So, um, that's one of the genius points of that book that's going to be useful for you when you're choosing songs that are narrow range for your students. Um, the other brilliant thing about, um, the initial ideation range, the initial mental musical range of children that fits well into the whole pentatonic thing of that book is, um.
That children's initial vocal range is the same as their initial audiation range. So the whole idea of connecting, breathing, and moving with young kids in a piano, pre-K, piano class is that you're connecting, breathing, and moving away from the keyboard so that you can put it all together and connect what you did away from the keyboard with singing and dancing to sitting at the keyboard and playing.
So you're going to be able to use their initial vocal range. While you're singing the song together, and then when you finish singing and moving, then you go sit at the piano and you play one of these songs. So Louise Bradford's book also divides her songs up. Um, uh, so they're, they're, they're mostly pentatonic.
They're folk songs. So there's songs that are natural to our heritage, our human heritage. There's songs that people have already proven, are easy for people to sing, for nonprofessional people to sing. And I think you're dealing with non-professionals if you have a pre K students. Um. But the other cool thing about her book is that she starts with songs that just have a couple of notes and goes up to songs that I think have nine notes.
So she divides the songs by how many notes they have. So what you can do, and what I, um, advise you to do is to use the songs in her book that, um. So start in her book around five or six notes and use everything from there on down. And you'll have plenty of songs to choose from in there. And you'll recognize some of the songs and the songs will be like, um.
Duh, duh, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. old man. There's not a law wasting this time. Wasting his time. And you can introduce them to your students without words at first, like I just did. And then you can add the words. They'll think the words are funny. I bet. And laughter is great for breathing and moving, and then you can transfer those to the P and piano.
And another thing I would advise you to do is when you're looking at her book, um, we were talking about the initial audiation and vocal rains, how wide they are. Um, that there are about five or six steps, but there are specific five or six steps there. The steps between the D right above middle C to that, a above that D.
so if you need to, when you're looking at Louise's book or any other book. You can choose to transpose the songs into that vocal range. So it's easier for you to do the exercises that are helping you connect, breathe, and move away from the keyboard, um, and then go to the keyboard and match those sounds and play them on the keyboard.
Again, we're talking about narrow range songs, so. Uh, the reason it was brilliant that this person asked about Noreen songs, and the reason this is helpful for you with your young students is not just what we said about the audio range and the vocal range. It's also because their hand range is narrow.
They have small hands that don't stretch very far. It's possible that if you're working with under fives, they can't use individual fingers anyway. They can't make a difference between pressing between individual fingers anyway. So, um, that could be mood. But also you can do exercises where they're just using one or two fingers in this, in this small range.
So that's my suggestion to you. To answer the question about narrow range songs, um, for younger students, I gave you a resource, which is Louise Bradford, sing it yourself book. You can probably find it in your library. I'll put a link down in the comments that you can look in WorldCat, which will give you, um, a clue as to whether you can find it in your local library.
And we'll also give you links to, uh, to buy it at Amazon or Barnes and elbows or wherever is your favorite. And so enjoy that and I want to end with a small story with that. The way I discovered this book was really beautiful. And so, uh, I'm, I'm doing this in the spirit of giving, which is that when I started teaching, um, pre-K music.
I was speaking with a teacher at a school who had been doing music for young children for years. She'd been doing it for 20 years. She had also been doing elementary school music and she was retiring, and I had gone to the school because I wanted to observe her teaching because that's how I felt I could learn to teach this age just by observing expert teachers.
And she said, she told me, well, I'm retiring. I would like to give you something. And so the second day that I came. To observe. She brought a box full of books from her library so that I can't, I don't want to sell these and I don't need them anymore cause I'm retiring. So I'd like for you to have them and sing it yourself was one of the books in that box.
So I hope that the spirit of her gift comes through in the spirit of this, um, this live I'm doing with you. And do you know what? Like I said, even if you don't have that book. You can look at other books for songs that are within a five or six notes that start on the D above or right above middle C, and you can enjoy, um, singing and playing these songs, connecting, breathing, and moving with your pre K students.
My main concern for you guys and for myself when I'm teaching a group piano with preschoolers is making sure that they are committed and commitment with them has a lot to do with them. Feeling like you're committed to them. And one of the ways that I get them to commit by helping them feel committed is by learning and using their names.
It sounds really basic and really simple, but if you think about it here in your name makes you feel immediately interested and connected and also draws your attention to the person who is using your name. And you remember people who use your name, even if it's someone who's being cheesy and political, you still remember if they purposely used your name while they were talking to you, and the kids remember that to remember that you cared and they know that you were thinking of them when you were inviting them to sing or inviting them to move or inviting them to go to the piano.
So this is something that I do that's pretty simple. You've probably tried it before or thought of it before, but a reminder is good. So when you're with a group, even if it's only for kids, the way that I learned their names quickly is the first time we're meeting together. We all sit in a circle and we're sitting in the circle and I have a piece of paper with my lesson plan beside me on the floor.
And part of that lesson plan has a little space where I've drawn a circle and I've put a big dot where I sit, I put it at the bottom of the circle cause that helps me orient. And then whatever my hello song is, and you probably have your favorite hello song. It often incorporates the names of the children.
So for example, Hey, hello, hello Missy. How are you today? Something like that. I make sure that I start with the person on my right. And when I sing that song, I write their name on the paper, right? If I don't already know their names and I have a class roster from the registration of the class, then what I do is sing a name from the list.
So I don't know who they are or where they are, but when I seen that name, I can look at their body language to who's responding to the name. And then I can Mark that name on that same diagram that seems circle so I know where they were sitting in relation to me in the circle. So I'll go down the whole list, four to however many students you happen to have in your group lesson.
And by the end of the hello song, I have a name for every face and I also have some body language for every face and also a physical relation to where they are in the circle, so that if we maintain the circle for that song and the next song, I've had all these chances to remember who's who and where they are.
So that then later on in the class when we moved to other places, I already have a little bit of a marker on each student. So then I can keep using their names and if I ever need to refer back, I can remember, Oh, she was sitting on my right in the circle, or he was sitting to my left or right across from me in the circle and glance at the diagram with the noted names on it and be able to call out their names.
So I hope that this has been useful to you. Again, I did it because I know that we need to feel cohesion with younger children. We need them to commit because they know that they're committed to and that they are liked and loved in our piano classes. And then that helps them to maintain their focus and their interest long enough so they can learn in the class and enjoy coming to be with us.
So I want to offer you guys this tool that can help you prove to the parents in your studio that you are actually giving their children something that's progressively improving and something that's worth the time and money that they're spending. And so this is what it is.
Evaluations. So evaluations are just a visual way that you can measure various aspects of your students' music learning and then show it to the people in your studio. So let's talk about how you can represent the kinds of things that a very young child is learning that are significant to his development.
Maybe in a way that wouldn't be the same for the development of older musicians. So let's talk holistically. We can talk about the elemental parts of their music learning, which is their ability to understand rhythm. In context and their ability to understand tonality in context. We can talk about their social emotional abilities, which is their ability to wait in a turns taking situation with other people.
Whether you. Or other people in their group, depending on what format of lessons you're giving. We can also talk about their coordination, how well they're able to actually handle the piano. We talked about that in a couple of my lives ago about how they're able to avoid a banging the piano and have consciousness of using their body with the right amount of force when they approached the piano.
So that's something else that you can talk about. When you're making these valuations. And then of course, you can talk about the number of songs that they have, uh, learned. And you can also show that. Um, in another way, which is an informance, what I call an informance different from a recital, because I personally do not believe that recitals are appropriate for young children.
I think they have too much social pressure, and they also have too much performance pressure, and they're not really appropriate for helping the children build their self esteem and build their enjoyment. Music while they're so young and impressionable. Uh, so when I say informants, I just mean a time when you basically have something that looks like a kinder music or music garden circle together and the kids get a chance when they're ready and when they feel like it to go up and play their songs.
And you can even do your group lesson types of activities where you're singing and doing rhythmic activities together during that meeting so that the kids feel like it's not a performance anxiety type of situation. But now I would like to talk to you about some of the individual things you can evaluate when you make your evaluations, and you don't have to have all of these.
I've had different ones of all of these on a grid over the years and change them depending on the schools that I'm working with, and depending on the kinds of families I'm working with in my studio, for example, I might have homeschool families that. Are using, uh, a Waldorf, uh, kind of curriculum in their home.
And they may have different, uh, kinds of priorities than another family that's using Reggio Emilia or Montessori or something else. So it's of course up to you to make sure you understand the goals of the family when you're making these evaluations to show them that their child is, is, um. Improving on the way to these goals.
So let me start with a list of some things that I found from the MENC, which is what they used to call one of the best national organizations and music teachers in the United States. And they had a really great, um, compilation of ways you can evaluate young children. And I'm going to read to you some of the things that they measure when they talk about musicianship and young children.
So sorry for my pause. I was just making sure I could scroll down and find those things for you. And I'm also going to put a link for you in the comments so that you can look at these things and copy and paste them into wherever you decide to do your evaluation.
So the first one is that the child can play a simple accompaniment to a song. And that's something that in most of your early childhood music curricula, you have a way for the child to have a duet with the teacher. So that's something that you can evaluate whether they actually did that and whether they were successful.
And of course, in all cases, you're probably going to say, yes, they were successful. Um, because you've built success into their experience in, in your studio. Um, the next thing, uh, that I would say is. That they identify the source of a variety of sounds. So obviously the most obvious source in your class is the piano.
But if you have lessons where you mix in exploration of instruments, you can always build easy lessons where you have the children identify the difference between a Glock and spiel and a xylophone. And the difference between the sound of the. Finger symbols and the little, um, wood sticks that they can clash, clash together.
You can do these kinds of lessons, um, that help them enjoy different tambours, explore different materials and improve their general listening skills. So that's something that the MENC values and something that you can show that you're helping your students with. If you're mixing this into the, away from the keyboard times in your group lesson.
And finally, the MENC, um, recommends that you evaluate whether children can move expressively. Two different kinds of music. So again, in the context of a group music lesson, when you're doing away from the keyboard exercises, which I will go into a little bit more if you, uh, come to the conference and come to my session.
And I think another, uh, couple of our speakers will also be addressing away from the keyboard activities. Um, you will have chances to play for the children yourself on the piano so that they can then, that they can hear different styles of music and move to the music. You can do stop and go games. Um, you can do quiet soft games.
You can do games where you ask the students to move freely the way that they feel the music is, and make sure you're altering sort of the heaviness or lightness of the music or the speed of the music. Um, and these are things that are considered to be developmentally appropriate. And. That you can write down in your evaluations when you present them to the parents of the children in your studio.
So now I have a second of three, um, groups of types of evaluations that you can copy from. And I'm going to scroll to the second kind. The second kind comes from or schoolwork. And you're gonna recognize that if you've been using orphan, your classes are mixing orphan to what you do with your young students.
Mmm. And when I do these things, um, I like to use a scaled rating. I start with beginning, growing and confidence. So the first is the to the left is beginning and the middle is growing. And at the right is confident because I think that those measures also give the impression that the children can continue growing and that you are supporting them and continuing growing, not that they are a failure or they can't do it or that.
After this time, they'll never get a chance to improve again, but that they are developing, which is appropriate for this age range. So that's something else you can include when you write your evaluations. So let me talk about the orphan, the orphan measures that you can include in your evaluations. Mmm.
So you can talk about whether the children recognize the physical properties of instruments. That's something really nice you can do, whether they're metallic or wooden or made of bone or whatever a hand instruments you bring in for, you're away from the keyboard section of your lessons. You can evaluate whether the child waits attentively information while others perform.
This is something easy to evaluate and something all the kids can grow in as you encourage them and as they notice how much more fun it is to participate when their classmates are happy with them, because usually their classmates are not happy if they feel they're not being given the full chance to enjoy their turn on the instrument.
Mmm. Verbalize his own name during chance. So if you have a hello song, like some of the hello songs I've introduced you to, you can measure whether they are actually responding and saying their own name during the hello song. And if you happen to do rhythmic, uh, poems as part of the away from the keyboard exercises in your class, you can also incorporate their names into those and see if they are verbalizing their own names in those.
And of course you set the example by verbalizing their names. As I mentioned in a previous life when I was talking about learning their names,
and I think there's one more that I've missed telling you guys about. I'm going to scroll up and see if I can find it. Ah, yes. It's applies the appropriate force to instrument. Which is really important. Uh, we talked about that before. So now you have, um, two different sets of things you can evaluate well, from two different great authorities, the MENC and from ORFs schoolwork.
And then the third one is from a theory of early childhood, from Gordon music learning theory. And I'm going to tell you about that. That has to do with, uh, three types and seven stages of. A preparatory audiation, which is an idea about how the inner musician of children is growing from the time they're babies to the time they're about five or six years old.
And I'm going to post a link to that. It's a nice little progression that shows, um, general groups of kinds of development in especially rhythm and tonal understanding and young children. And those three types are acculturation. Um, which is where the children engage with little consciousness of the environment.
So their movements may seem to be random, but they are somewhat related to the music that they're hearing. But they are hearing lots of music because you're providing a lot of music. And that's at the youngest of ages, probably that age is not really in your studio, but you can always be providing a variety of different kinds of music to continue that process of acculturating your students.
Then there's the invitation type, which is a type where the children consciously try to engage in what you're doing so you can see that they're starting to copy you and they're starting to become more accurate in their copies, and they're really listening and understanding how the things they do may or may not be the same as the things that you do when you're singing or moving or playing on the piano.
And then the third type is a simulation where they're consciously thinking about what they're doing and purposely making it on the right beat and in the right tonality in a way that starts being consciously creative. So this is when they can start to actually improvise in really interesting ways and stick with the beat and stick with the tonality.
So these are things that you can also put on your evaluation as you begin to see them, uh, with your children. And you can just put these on the scale going from, um, culturation through imitation and through simulation. And I'll put a link to . To that in the comments. You can see it. So I hope that's been useful to you as you think about how you can represent what you're doing in your lessons in a way that encourages the parents in your studio to keep bringing their kids so you can keep helping them grow in piano and music.
I'm here today to answer a question that someone wrote about what to do when they're young student go silent when she asked the student to count while he played. Well, I wonder if you've had this situation before or other weird things happening when you're trying to get your younger students to get on a beat while they play and you try lots of things.
If you've tried asking them to count and it hasn't worked yet, then I would like to offer you something else. You can try and this is something that works really well in groups. So if you have one student at the piano playing and the other kids are sitting down or standing up, however you've arranged them while the other one place.
But I think sitting down is easier to manage. Try them. Yes. While your student is playing. I am thinking that the kids already know the tune. They may or may not know the tune so they can hum along, but the important thing for rhythm so that the kid starts getting the beat right for rhythm is if his classmates are swaying.
And padding while they sway on the back or beat or the main beat, the quarter note of the song. So he's playing and they're patting on the ground like this while he plays. And that gives them an opportunity also to begin to internalize the beat of the song since they're going to have a chance to play too.
And it gives him moral support. Other people who are helping him with the beat, he can hear it outside. You can see other bodies moving and he may even move a little bit while he's trying to play at the piano. He or she, so this is my steady beat rhythm tip for when you have that student who just go silent.
When you say, please count the beat at the piano, give up on the words and the . Vocalizing the beat or the numbers of the beat and let the beat become something that's shared by the group and that becomes part of their bodies because as time goes on, that will become a much more stable thing and something that's much more internalized for your younger students.
First, thanks for all you do to build children from the inside out. What you teach with music adds beauty and happiness to life for so many. So it's a loss to us all that legal restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic have forced you to close the in-person version of your studio. It may even have left you and your students' families struggling with bills and childcare and psychological distress.
In response, many teachers like you have pivoted to offer online video lessons. Maybe you've taught on video before with apps like Skype, Whatsapp, or Zoom. But more likely it's the first time. And for your students it's the first time too. Many clients are finding it hard to adjust and have simply said they won't take piano lessons online!
When they give no reason, it's pretty hard to convince them to come back. But below I've found 15 common reasons parents give, plus the counter reasoning you can give them to convince them to keep taking lessons. Yes it's for the health of your business, but it's also for the relief of beauty and kind attention from you that it offers your students during these trying times. So take a look through. And please comment with any tactic you used that made a student change their mind and say YES to taking online lessons with you.
A few cautions before the list: When we're squeezed, our juice comes out! If a client deeply doesn't highly prioritize music lessons among their values, then you can't argue them out of that value ranking. If they truly want music lessons, even in reduced measure, they'll get them and one of the reasons below will convince them. Where there's a will, there's a way. But where there is no will, there is no way. So don't take it too hard if you can't convince them. It runs deeper than any words you can say.
Also, some families face true financial restrictions as they lost their jobs and those might not come back after the crisis. They can't reasonably spend money what could be saved for basic living expenses in case of that eventuality. I've included an option for that below but this is an area to go lightly with and lower expectations for adopting online now, too.
In in each one you'll find 1. the excuse they gave when they said no, 2.the deep worry behind it, (what's really going on), and 3. how to comfort and convince them to re-start lessons.
So let's go!
1. Special needs
Worry: My child will fail or be embarrassed further for disability
Comfort: Many teachers have found that some kids with ASD or sensory processing issues do better without the pressures of direct face time in person with teachers and are more comfortable taking the lessons remotely from home with teh contrl and sheild of a screen. And when there is a problem with directional issues, like dyslexia, something as simple as flipping the camera upside down or directing the student to flip theri own device upside down could help with mirroring issues.
2. No or weak internet access (rural, etc.)
Worry: The lesson won’t be consistently visible
Comfort: There's a workaround many teachres have used successfuly. Call each other on a landline to disucss the lesson plan, keep speaker phone on to hold rest of lesson. Separate hands for spot checks.
Worry: They wont’ be able to concentrate given emotional distress with covid concens
Comfort: Music is a soother and a better expense of time than watching the news. Also a good way to change gears from other modes of work. Online. And keeping the normalcy of things they are used to is really helpful for nerves.
4. Too many kids at home.
Worry: With too many other kids too look after at home, we can’t supervise the lesson to make sure it goes well and maybe the kid won't even be able to hear. It’s hard for mom to help the piano student with 3 others pulling on her
Comfort: Think of it as time off – the screen keeps her occupied and since she already knows me, trust that our relationship and my teaching / classroom management skills will keep her on task while we do the lesson. It has worked with other families (give examples as this suits). And if it's too noisy for the student to hear the lesson, suggest anasynchornous lesson where the learner chooses a quiet time on their own to record their response and send back to you.
5. Screen-free family
Parents don’t like screen time and never did.
Worry: They will expose their kids to a mode of life that violates their values and harms their mental or spiritual health
Comfort: This needs a workaround. Offer to send parents plenty of resources for printable theory and history worksheets they can do and listening assignments. So they can still do the work without being on a screen
6 Limited number of devices in home.
Worry: There won’t be time for the kids to use them as parents need to work
Comfort: Suggest pomodoro (productivity approache with 30 mins work and 4 off) and TAKING A BREAK of one hour per day so the kids can also have a break and be easier to deal with in your background when you do work
7 Sick of screens
Worry: Fatigue from too much of the same thing
Comfort: Offer asynchronous lessons with audio only, and send by books if they don’t have any.
9 Money worries
Worry: Their company fired them in response to Covid restrictions and they can’t afford to continue
Comfort: Some teachers are offering reduced prices for video courses. And some are also glad for the reduced workload as most students are in fact agreeing to go online and the reduced stress is good in these times.
10 Students too young to manage tech themselves.
Worry: The kids will struggle and not get the benefit of the lesson as parents can’t come to help
Comfort / Convince: Give them a taste of how a lesson is, let them sit in but just watch how simple it is to focus the camera, set and forget it for their children. Tell them it’s like facetime with grandma. Many young children have done these lessons successfully with other teachers.
11 Focus is a problem - especially for younger attention spans of preschoolers
Worry: The lessons will be a waste of time as the kids won’t focus enough to learn
Comfort / Confince: Remind parents that screens focus kids – the addictive quality we hate, that makes them ignore us when we call them but they are absorbed in a game or show,helps keep their attention captured when we as teacher are on teh screen.
12 Not as personal
Worry: Children will not learn as much if they lose that 'connection' of being in the same facility.
Comfort / Convince: Ask them to do a trial and see if the kids make progress – or let you evaluate the progress!
13 Elder students who don't like tech
Worry: They wont be able to handle it and they are already intimidated or annoyed by tech and don’t want to feel small
Comfort / Convince: Let them try on the phone as above.
14 Tried it and got frustrated
Worry: The frustration will never go away and kid will never learn, plus it will add to general stress in trying times.
Comfort / Convince: Remind them learning taking time. Tell them there is no pressure. Ask them to give it 2 more lessons for things to feel easier and more familiar.
15 Afraid it won’t work online
Worry: It’s all too new and scary.
Comfort / Convince: Give them a pre-recorded lesson so they can see what it’s like to do it. Also with permission give them a short exceprt of a recording of someone else’s live lesson.
Remember, if you feel overwhelmed and don’t want to push it with parents, that one of the above will work because you're not being salesy - this is a good thing that your students already value and y ou are helping them have some of it instead of none. Also if people don't really value it, you can't convince them so do take some pressure off of yourself. And if people are really frozen in fear because all the circumstances of this strange pandemic situation are too much for them, then that's also a no-go. Sometimes people get so scared that the rational part of the brain turns off. These are scary tmes. No reason given for saying no to online lessons is the HARDEST one I heard from lots of teachers. Basically there is no way to reach out. Some people are lost in the mix of things or simply can’t explain whey they are saying no, and won’t give it a try at all as they are stunned by current events. Leave these ones alone. Hopefully you have a great majority of your students who are in a space to make a positive choice at the moment.
And finally, if you're worried about whether you're giving real value to your students In general, there are a couple of practical tips you can tell your students to use to make this a successful online experience. Remember that during online lessons there will likely be many distractions in both of your homes, including children, pets and neighbors, etc. . And more people at home means more internet bandwidth being used. Try to minimize these problems by advising your students to close the doors to the room with the piano, and disconnect wi-fi devices at home that do not need to be in use during the lesson.
Wishing you more music , happy students, and a strong studio!
Hi! I'm Ekanem Ebinne. I've been teaching school and studio music for kids for fifteen years. I love how preschool kids immediately focus on music and stay engaged longer when I use movement and development insights from Gordon Music Learning Theory. And I love hearing from teachers who took my training and found the same success with their own students. Join us on Facebook, take the free Five Day Studio De-stress Challenge, and subscribe to our mailing list to get new blog posts as soon as they're up.