My husband is somewhat hard of hearing. It comes from spending his 20s in rock bands and his 30s doing woodworking projects, both without benefit of hearing protection.
So when I said to him last week, “Online lessons are going so much better than I expected. Yesterday I had three people who had breakthroughs!”
He said, “They had grapefruits??”
Much mirth ensued.
I told that story to one of my students (who had been one of the breakers-through) at her next lesson and she said that now she wanted a grapefruit.
I have found that the advantages to online lessons include:
- I can’t play for my students on vocalises, so they need to become more independent. Consequently, we can hear where there are intonation and registration issues that otherwise might be covered up by the piano.
- Since I can’t play for them on repertoire, they need to sing a cappella or with an accompaniment track. I have to listen to them, during which I take notes – almost like I’m adjudicating a competition. I miss less because I’m not playing the piano and splitting my focus between them and the accompaniment. Something cool I’ve been doing is to type my observations directly into the chat while the student is singing, so that they’re there for them when they finish. If the student records their lesson, that chat is there for them to review afterwards.
- I can look at them really closely in a way that would be frowned upon in an in-person way. I can get up to the camera and say, “What are you doing with your tongue?” and look directly into their mouths (without any fear of bio-aerosol droplet virus transmission or experiencing halitosis – on either side). Again, if I’m playing the piano, I might not notice that someone’s jaw is not releasing back and down, but rather is coming forward, but if I’m not, I can (which was the first “grapefruit” of that day).
This time has been one of experimenting with what works, and, in doing so, experiencing some growth that we might not have expected. And maybe finding a grapefruit or two.
(And yes, I am married to Emily Litella.)