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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
PianogrlNW #3038163 10/21/20 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
AZNPiano, Do you think as a piano teacher that you generally feel positive about your students? The way you describe and denigrate your students in this forum, I think it would be hard for your students’ parents to not pick up on your negative vibe.

I try to stay neutral during lessons, and I err on the side of negative by withholding praise unless something is done correctly. But I save my angry rants for PW. I have no problem teaching normal kids. Unfortunately, most of my current students are not normal.

Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Have you considered coming up with a written policy of how you are managing Covid in your studio and communicating that to the parents? That would help towards parents feeling more comfortable about in-person lessons.

I'll bounce this idea with my colleagues. I'm not the only teacher who's noticing the COVID-19 excuse. Some parents are never coming to lessons again because Zoom is so convenient for them. Our COVID rate now is so low, I don't even know why we have any restrictions. Disneyland is finally about to re-open, but the rules are so dumb. Only people living in Orange County can go to Disneyland. That kind of defeats the whole purpose of re-opening. We need the tourism money.

Our local school district is extremely proactive, but the rest of the state is lagging behind in so many ways. Our economy is tanking. I've only gotten two inquiries since schools re-opened, and only one new student panned out. Things are not looking good.


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3038312 10/22/20 12:49 PM
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Every country's economy is suffering. The alternative to a full lockdown is a targeted lockdown in places that are most vulnerable including senior homes & long-term care facilities.

When it comes to re-opening Disneyland, you have the problem of numbers. When you get too many people, you can't maintain proper social distance so there is a risk of an outbreak. The execs at Walt Disney Co. don't want to deal with compensation claims afterwards. Even if Disneyland & Disney World in Florida reopen without restrictions tomorrow, there is still a lockdown / partial lockdown in other parts of the world including England, France & Spain. The US-Canada border will remain close in the next few months. You're not going to see Canadian "snowbirds" heading for California or Florida for the winter.

My piano teacher teaches at a conservatory. As soon as the admin feel it is safe to re-open the building, the students will go back to music classes at a central location. Don't think my teacher plans to host lessons with Zoom permanently.

Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3038358 10/22/20 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I try to stay neutral during lessons, and I err on the side of negative by withholding praise unless something is done correctly. But I save my angry rants for PW.
That's pretty well as one expects. I taught in a public school that was in a problem area, with kids having loads of varying kinds of problems. The teacher's lounge where we had our lunch together sometimes looked like a convention of the mad, as people let off steam from the pent up self-discipline in the classroom. It just wasn't broadcast to the public worldwide. wink I sort of suspect that some folks who have a public persona of ultra-niceness may not be the best and most caring teachers in practice (though some may be).

Re: COVID-19 Excuse
thepianoplayer416 #3038359 10/22/20 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
My piano teacher teaches at a conservatory. As soon as the admin feel it is safe to re-open the building, the students will go back to music classes at a central location. Don't think my teacher plans to host lessons with Zoom permanently.

At a conservatory I'm sure a teacher has every slot filled.

A private teacher might see an opportunity here, teaching mostly in person at some point but offering a few online slots now that the possibility has been publicized and to some extent accepted. I personally would rather take online lessons, from someone really skilled at teaching, than in person lessons from someone local and mediocre.


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
TimR #3038708 10/23/20 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
I personally would rather take online lessons, from someone really skilled at teaching, than in person lessons from someone local and mediocre.

If you put it that way.

Zoom has come a long way. The quality has increased substantially since March. But it is only about 45% effective when you compare it to in-person lessons. It also doesn't help if the parents of students are too cheap to invest in an external microphone. Trying to teach anybody beyond the intermediate level, whose microphone is the one that came with the laptop, is trying to do brain surgery with power tools.


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3038728 10/23/20 06:09 PM
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Some students would rather a mediocre teacher come to their home than go somewhere to a really skilled teacher (talking about pre-pandemic and also generalizing, not that all in-home teachers are mediocre and all teachers in studios/schools are skilled). I'd rather teach an online student who practices diligently than do musical babysitting of an in-person student.

Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3040595 10/29/20 09:19 AM
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It seems like some people here really don't like a market based approach to piano lessons. Set aside all of your thoughts on Covid, in the end of the day the teacher is selling a product and the student as a consumer is buying the product. The service provider (teacher) gets to determine how they will sell the product and the consumer (student) decides if they want to buy the product. It's that simple. If the consumers want a online experience and prefers that it is their decision. The service provider can decide what and how they are going to provide the service. If the two match up great, if not that's what happens in a marketplace economy. It's up to the service provider to decide how they will approach the market. Instead the prevailing opinion here seems to be to resist the market and disparage those consumers that don't conform to how they view the market.


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3040908 10/30/20 02:42 AM
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I'm late to this thread. I fully understand all the legitimate fears of catching Covid...but I'll vent about just how bad online teaching is. I don't know how so many seem to be okay with it, or even enjoying it. I had to disperse of the remaining online students I had as I was being driven towards alcoholism.

Here are just a FRACTION of things you can't do online, all of which are prominent in my teaching:

1.) Point to the score as a student plays.
2.) Have a student point as you play.
3.) Write in counts in their music
4.) Have them count aloud or count to my playing
5.) Discuss or demonstrate pedalling
6.) Use a metronome
7.) Touch them
8.) Demonstrate subtle dynamic varieties.

There is also the issue of having to buy double copies of whatever books they use, so you have a reference. Early on I drove to all their houses and dropped of copies I bought, but got tired.

Some positives of online teaching:

1.) You can browse the web or chat on facebook or gchat with your other teacher colleagues while they are also teaching and bemoan online teaching together.
2.) Don't have to keep your house super clean
3.) Vodka martinis while delivering instruction.

Last edited by Opus_Maximus; 10/30/20 02:46 AM.
Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3040939 10/30/20 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
8.) Demonstrate subtle dynamic varieties.
What are the subtle dynamic varieties !? There are only two varieties: there is sound or there is no sound!


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2.) Don't have to keep your house super clean
In any case, what is out of frame .

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3.) Vodka martinis while delivering instruction.
Don't forget to pour it into a tea mug; in no case show an olive pierced with a toothpick. While drinking, repeat repeatedly and espressivo : "Oh, what delicious water!"

Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3041268 10/31/20 06:22 AM
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We live in Maryland and our schools are not open even though our positivity rate is about 3 percent.

All my son’s piano lessons have been on Zoom since March 2020. I’ve talked to others and it seems like everyone here is doing Zoom lessons still.

Are there any teachers who think Zoom lessons for intermediate students work better or are at least not too much worse?


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3041313 10/31/20 10:05 AM
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A zoom lesson is about 55% effective. Many things are left out but parents don't know which things these are. So they believe they're getting value for money. As a piano teacher, that is the main thing: earning a living during difficult times. By difficult, I don't mean seeing people around you dying from Covid, since it's mainly seniors in nursing homes dying. Rather I mean, seeing everybody around me healthy and the economy going to shreds, the public debt mounting, people's mental health tanking etc..

Re: COVID-19 Excuse
Nahum #3041339 10/31/20 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
8.) Demonstrate subtle dynamic varieties.
What are the subtle dynamic varieties !? There are only two varieties: there is sound or there is no sound!

I'm trying to understand what you're saying. Opus Maximus was listing what you (often) can't do on-line. Are you agreeing with O.M. that you can only do "sound / no sound" without the dynamic varieties? Or are you disagreeing (they way it sounds), saying that in piano playing there are none?

Of course there is variety to dynamics: from very quiet, to very loud, and crescendo, diminuendo, morendo etc. In my own on-line work, these do come across. Only not necessarily subtly.

The thing that is not working well are sustained notes. It seems to also depend on an individual's Internet connections, and possibly time of day. If a sustained whole note comes across as an eighth, what can the teacher tell? If there are pedal choices, esp. subtle ones, you can't hear it if the sound is cancelled as "background noise".

It's not just "sound/ no sound". There is "How loud is the sound?" "How much louder than the sounds before and after?" "How long does the sound last?" This is why your statement puzzled me.

Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3041525 10/31/20 06:30 PM
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For parents whose kids are still doing virtual lessons and really care, what can we do to make the process better? We have a Yamaha 5’10” grand piano. Zoom lessons on iPhone. If we need a microphone, what do I buy?


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
pianoMom2006 #3041915 11/01/20 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoMom2006
For parents whose kids are still doing virtual lessons and really care, what can we do to make the process better? We have a Yamaha 5’10” grand piano. Zoom lessons on iPhone. If we need a microphone, what do I buy?

Not a teacher, just an adult student. I've been surprised at how much my teacher is able to accomplish over Zoom. I actually think it may be more important to get a larger screen than a microphone, so that the teacher has a good view of the whole keyboard. IPhones have a good enough microphone that you'd have to go pretty high end to make a significant difference there, IMO.

I'm also writing from experience teaching over Zoom (not music) and seeing how students who connect via phone are at a disadvantage, compared with using a computer. I would suggest using a laptop for the video, and you could still use the phone for sound if you want. I have a Macbook and just use the computer for both.


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3041944 11/01/20 09:06 PM
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Thank you JDW.

My son has a special tripod for his iPhone. He also has a newish MacBook but I’m not sure if that would be any better given the location of his tripod. I couldn’t put the MacBook on the tripod. I suppose I could ask his teacher.


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3042082 11/02/20 01:14 PM
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On Zoom, I have become better at asking the student questions, and really listening to how they answer. I also have them read the lesson notes, and ask them to explain/teach/demonstrate to me.

I use the Spotlight on Zoom when they show me their theory, or if is lots of writing, have parent send me a photo.

I was very thankful that I have a full lending library and am fully stocked with my curriculum books that I would use to sell. They became my at-home set for Zooming. Lesson page 12, Theory page 5, Performance page 4, etc... and I could type out specifics for each student in a follow up message.

As of fall 2020, Only have 4 students still on Zoom, the rest are in-person.

For Christmas music, the Zoom students will have their music delivered, limited choices. In person, they can look over my vast collection and choose at their level several selections. I can play for them to see if they like the arrangement.

As for teaching, I have an advanced student who had developed a bad habit with a collapsed pinky that I could not see on camera. We are back in person and working on it now. Fingerings were also becoming willy nilly, but he is getting back on track because I can see now!

For my littles, they have been progressing, surprising well. But, the parents mostly incorporate piano as they do math, dishes, feeding the dog, English, tv time, piano, brush your teeth, etc...it all is a regular part of life.

Except for one boy- I am still just a 30 minute babysitter. He listens well enough, and works, but little sister screams her fool head off during the lesson so much that we literally cannot hear each other. The nanny will read a book to sissy in the same room. It sucks. But, same thing occurred in person, so I'm really not surprised.

Be professional. Carry yourself well. Zoom with yourself to check lighting and sound. Set goals for each student, and let them know your expectations. Yes, have a Zoom recital. Hold them accountable. But, also do fun activities, and send fun music worksheets. Have them do a brief music history report. Stretch yourself.

This, too, shall pass.


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Re: COVID-19 Excuse
AZNpiano #3043791 11/08/20 10:58 AM
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Since we're on this topic, it would be great if I can get feedback from piano teachers for early or young learners (4 to 12 years) regarding conducting virtual lessons online ad the difficulties you've encounterd. Quick 5 min survey - https://forms.office.com/Pages/Resp...8aBUMUhSNUdQVlJZVURJODdOVzJLMUlFR0cySS4u

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