Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Teaching Under Quarantine

As of Friday, University of Wyoming announced that it was cancelling all in-person instruction for the remainder of the term to help keep cases of COVID-19 low. While this can be frustrating for all of as Type-A people who have had everything planned to a "T" for months, I welcome the opportunity to explore new technology and get creative in these strange times.

Since I'm rooting around for clever resources to make lessons, studio class, juries, and recitals still happen, I thought I'd share what I find. I'll keep adding to this list as I discover more, and I welcome you all to add your favorite apps and programs in the comments, as well. Also, if you have a social site featuring how you're keeping your flute studio running this month and you'd like more buddies, please share a link in the comments, as well! We here in rural areas have long known the internet can be used for good to bring people together; now is our chance to stretch those muscles!

Teaching lessons: Zoom allows you to create a scheduled meeting and generate a shareable link to help your students get on, and it also has a) built-in recording equipment and b) "show screen" function. Since I already encourage my students to record their lessons, I particularly appreciate how easy it is to share the video of their remote lessons for transcription.

"Hiring" a pianist: Smart Music is offering free accounts through June 30 due to our collective sequestration. The repertoire choices are not amazing (not nearly what they were years go), but I did find some simpler pieces like the Godard Suite, and oddly, The "Undine" Sonata-?!

"Performing" with piano: Now that students cannot rehearse on campus with their pianists, I'm asking them to have their pianists record their parts to jury and recital pieces whenever possible. With Sound Trap, students can upload the recorded piano part and then record themselves playing on top of it, which yields a more blended recording. They offer a 30-day free trial.

Creating chamber music: Acapella is a popular app you've probably all seen in use--think your favorite flutist playing Christmas quartets with herself on Insta. Your students can all upload videos of them each playing their parts and put it together. Not the same experience as in-person (as is true with all of these apps), but if they were rehearsing together the first half of the semester, it might be a reasonable time to do this. Here's a nice video by flutist Gina Luciani to help everyone get started.

Studio class / Juries: Flipgrid is an easy way for students to upload their performance videos to one place. You can create a class and add everyone, which allows all members to view all videos with one handy portal to collect everything.