Online Music Education

It’s the last day of April and I’m writing my blog post, so I’m counting that as a win. For me it’s been a month of readjusting priorities and schedules as I’m sure has been the case for many of you. I hope that everyone is doing well during our state of quarantine and that you and yours are staying safe and healthy.

                I have been amazed at music educators and how they are adapting their teaching to serve students during this crisis. Not that I’m surprised at all, but their creativity and ingenuity has been put to the test during these past two months, and I’m really proud to be a member of this group of professional musicians who are answering the call to adapt their teaching to online paradigms.

                Earlier this week I had the opportunity to engage with some 4th grade saxophonists online through the Zoom platform and their teacher, Mr. Jim Olson. Jim is a friend and colleague of mine from when I taught back in Delaware and he asked me to join this online session that he has been calling “Ask the Expert.” I love working with that age level, so when Jim asked me, I jumped at the chance.

                It was essentially an online “hangout” for sax players where I played two selections for them and then they had the opportunity to ask me questions or even play something for me. It was a blast. I was impressed with how the students engaged with me and the other players and how well they composed themselves through the lesson. What was exciting for me was the opportunity to see how students were adapting to an online teaching format. This really worked, at least from my perspective, and I was impressed with how well these students engaged with me, each other, and Mr. Olson.  They had some good questions and the musicians who performed for me were doing great! I left the session feeling energized and optimistic about music education.

                This was online music education at work and working well. My hat is off to Jim Olson for organizing these sessions and having the vision to make this type of interaction viable for his students. This is just one example of a music educator adapting to circumstances and overcoming obstacles. Music educators all over the United States are accomplishing great things in a very fluid teaching situation, and it was inspiring for me to witness it firsthand. Thanks again for taking the time to read this blog, and stay safe and healthy!

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