At the beginning of the teaching year, none of us could have imagined the lockdown we’ve experienced and the need to quickly adapt our teaching techniques to suit the online environment. However, the varied technologies that are available have enabled not only classroom music teaching but also itinerant music teaching to continue and we have seen our students’ learning flourish. I am personally utilising as many pieces of technology that I can to make it an enjoyable and effective process.
I’ve used Zoom (video conferencing), iPad for sheet music (which can be sent to the students instantly on-screen), PC for recording progress and setting weekly tasks, Yamaha electronic drum kit for demonstrations, keyboard for further musical demonstrations and I’ve connected my microphone to the computer. My phone is alsoused for a metronome and for play-along tracks. It’s an extensive arrangement but demonstrates how technology can work cohesively to create an effective teaching set up.
Students log in to Zoom on their device and wait in the ‘waiting room’ for their lesson to begin. They sit at their drum kit (or practice pad or cushion) and work through the tasks set for them. At times the students film themselves running through their performance pieces. We can view them in the lesson at the exact same time to critique their playing and discuss next steps to aid their progress.
Despite this challenging and unprecedented time, the use of technology has ensured that itinerant music lessons have been able to continue, meaning that students’ hard work in perfecting the craft of playing a musical instrument can carry on with minimal disruption. Of course, we (the itinerant teachers) are very much looking forward to being able to work with students face-to-face once again. For now, this is a great way to continue their progress and encourage them on their pursuit to musical excellence.
Written by Jono Sawyer, Itinerant Music Teacher