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Posted By: EDV How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/22/20 06:39 PM
Hello fellow teachers,

My student of 2 years is hinting he might stop lessons due to fears about COVID-19. I understand his fears but I am totally healthy and live a pretty isolated life anyway ( haven't even had the need to go to the doctor in more than 1 year ). I exercise every day, eat very healthy and am under 50, so in a "low risk" age group.
I want to leave Skype lessons as a last resort as my student lives only 10 minute drive from my home and it seems ridiculous.
Our lessons are 2 hours long ( weekly ) and we only use one piano, ( but have other pianos in the home ). I guess you could say we are in close proximity during the lesson as sometimes I demonstrate how to play something, especially what fingers to use sometimes.
I am thinking to avoid cash handling for now to reduce risk but once in a while my student or I would cough, and that can't really be avoided short of wearing a mask. I personally don't think it's a good idea to wear a mask if you're sneezing, but it might protect the other person by your side.

Thanks in advance

EDV
Quote
. . . I exercise every day, eat very healthy and am under 50, so in a "low risk" age group.


You are confusing two things:

. . . You _are_ in a low-risk group for _dying_ of Covid-19

. . . You have the same risk as anyone else, of _catching and spreading_ Covid-19.

So just being in the same room with you, is a risk to your student.

Quote
. . . I want to leave Skype lessons as a last resort as my student lives only 10 minute drive from my home and it seems ridiculous. . . .


Well, I just cancelled an in-person singing lesson, and will take all further lessons via Skype. And I live a 10-minute drive from my teacher.

So, IMHO:

. . . If you can figure out a way to keep the student, by using Skype (or Zoom), do it.

That way, he won't just _feel_ safe -- he'll really _be_ safe(*).

(*) "Safe" here, means "not at increased risk by taking lessons with you."

Posted By: Learux Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/22/20 07:20 PM
The less contact we have with other people the better.

That is the only way to stop this from spreading.

Do you really want to take the risk and have your student infect you?
Posted By: dogperson Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/22/20 07:23 PM
Dr Oz made a statement I’m personally living by: ‘close the borders to your house’. The problem with Covid-19 is you can be healthy, asymptomatic and still have the virus and transmit to others. There is no vaccine and no approved treatment. Piano lessons, by definition, would violate the rule of staying at least six feet from anyone else.

I’m afraid there is nothing you could say to me that would have me continue in -person lessons until this is resolved.
I’m not a teacher, but...all lessons should be cancelled or moved online. I have one lesson occurring online, and two other lessons cancelled. Piano lessons are not essential - no reason to risk it. Please stay safe.

I would be upset if any of my teachers tried to convince me it’s ok to go for in-person lessons right now.
Posted By: EDV Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/22/20 08:15 PM
Did I mention I am in Australia? We have a total of 7 deaths for a population of 25 Million. And all deaths were people over the age of 70 I believe.
Anyway, here is one thing I might do:
Grab one of the other pianos in the home, and set it up next to my main piano. That way, I can demonstrate anything on my piano without being in close proximity.
That's the way they do in in most music schools . If my student seems reluctant, I will switch to Skype. By the way, anyone knows if music schools like Julliard and other major ones will be closing? I know for a fact Chinese students are almost a majority and also Italians ( this not only in Julliard, but in Music Schools all over the world ! )
Posted By: dogperson Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/22/20 08:26 PM
Originally Posted by EDV
Did I mention I am in Australia? We have a total of 7 deaths for a population of 25 Million. And all deaths were people over the age of 70 I believe.
Anyway, here is one thing I might do:
Grab one of the other pianos in the home, and set it up next to my main piano. That way, I can demonstrate anything on my piano without being in close proximity.
That's the way they do in in most music schools . If my student seems reluctant, I will switch to Skype. By the way, anyone knows if music schools like Julliard and other major ones will be closing? I know for a fact Chinese students are almost a majority and also Italians ( this not only in Julliard, but in Music Schools all over the world ! )


Do you realize that Australia has over 1700 positive diagnosis, a 26% increase from yesterday? This spreads exponentially and the only way to slow the escalation is self-isolation. I am not just concerned about death, but also a severe case of the virus, even if I don’t need to be hospitalized. It is very contagious: will live on plastic and wood for many days.

I don’t understand why you want to put yourself at risk.

Juliard is doing all remote learning

https://www.juilliard.edu/campus-life/covid-19-response
In my U.S. state and others, there is a legal mandate to "stay at home" except for essential functions (and many teachers had done this even before the order came down). Sorry, in-person lessons are not essential. One can say music is culturally essential, the creation and enjoyment of music is part of what makes us human, etc., but as far as essential during this crisis, no.
Posted By: dogperson Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/22/20 09:01 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by EDV
Did I mention I am in Australia? We have a total of 7 deaths for a population of 25 Million. And all deaths were people over the age of 70 I believe.
Anyway, here is one thing I might do:
Grab one of the other pianos in the home, and set it up next to my main piano. That way, I can demonstrate anything on my piano without being in close proximity.
That's the way they do in in most music schools . If my student seems reluctant, I will switch to Skype. By the way, anyone knows if music schools like Julliard and other major ones will be closing? I know for a fact Chinese students are almost a majority and also Italians ( this not only in Julliard, but in Music Schools all over the world ! )


Do you realize that Australia has over 1700 positive diagnosis, a 26% increase from yesterday? This spreads exponentially and the only way to slow the escalation is self-isolation. I am not just concerned about death, but also a severe case of the virus, even if I don’t need to be hospitalized. It is very contagious: will live on plastic and wood for many days.

I don’t understand why you want to put yourself at risk.

Juliard is doing all remote learning

https://www.juilliard.edu/campus-life/covid-19-response


Sorry.. the current number is 1300 but still a 26% increase
The problem is that people think, “Oh, it’s not here yet so it’s ok if I do this or that.” I’m pretty sure that’s what people said in Italy, then Spain, then the UK, then the US, etc. Look what’s happened now.
Posted By: Qwerty53 Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/22/20 10:03 PM
Two minutes to persuade you that we should all observe social distancing right now.


Thanks -- good talk!
Posted By: malkin Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/22/20 11:28 PM
You may be at low risk of dying, but others are at higher risk.
Perhaps your student has regular contact with higher risk individuals.
Perhaps your student's contacts are in contact with high risk individuals.

Social distancing slows the transmission. Isolation slows it more.
Posted By: Candywoman Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/23/20 04:18 AM
But how will we know when it's slow enough?

Why can't the people of higher risk be supported in self-isolation? For instance, a mother has diabetes. She isolates with her family.

Other people get to keep earning money, including her husband. Perhaps he lives in a shelter for a while so she doesn't get infected. Perhaps we pay for that shelter.

This is truly going nutty, this self-isolation and wrecking the economy for nothing. What about the poor slugs who will end up on the streets due to this first world angst about a bug that you can't stop, despite what they think.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/23/20 04:35 AM
Originally Posted by EDV
I want to leave Skype lessons as a last resort as my student lives only 10 minute drive from my home and it seems ridiculous.

Online lessons may be the new reality for the time being. Get used to it.
Posted By: Qwerty53 Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/23/20 12:07 PM
Originally Posted by Candywoman
... a bug that you can't stop, despite what they think.
Nobody thinks the coronavirus can be "stopped." The hope is to slow down the spread so that all of the people, young and old, who will get sick won't need a hospital at the same time as everyone who has a heart attack, a car accident, reaches their time to give birth to a baby during the coming months. In the past few days, the county began to build an emergency field hospital of 200 beds on a soccer field less than 10 miles from my home. This is happening today, within an hour's drive of many of the largest and most profitable corporations in the United States. Everyone please stay home, wash your hands. Make some music.
I hear from friends and family in healthcare that basically their hospitals are rationing supplies. For example, they are being asked to use surgical masks for much longer than is standard/safe. I guess some protection is better than no protection, if they run out. That is why at least one state governor (I don't track them all) has appealed to manufacturers that if their equipment and processes can be adapted to produce medical supplies, to do so urgently. This is literally like war, when metal and raw materials for consumer goods are redirected toward ammunition and weaponry.

Supply of hospital beds and ventilators is finite (can be increased but is finite). Supply of healthcare workers is finite (can be increased but is finite). If healthcare workers are not adequately protected, they get sick faster. Suppose they have to choose between still going to work to at least save some patients? Stay home and recover, causing staffing shortage? Not a choice but if they are sick enough to need hospitalization, they add to patient load AND are part of staffing shortage? These may not be as concerning in "regular" times, but they are when it's imminent that system capacity is about to be challenged. Then, when resources are scarce, healthcare workers are faced with choosing who gets them, i.e., who lives or dies.

I'm not exaggerating - this is literally happening in some parts of the world. Numbers don't lie (well, unless they are being underreported...), and if even it "doesn't seem bad" now, do we want to wait until it is? It's "slow enough" when the reputable mathematical models show that healthcare infrastructure will be able to handle it, when a viable vaccine is introduced, when herd immunity takes effect, etc. There will be economic and death toll whether under stay-at-home-unless-essential orders or making no change. How do you choose what's less bad or something in between? I'm glad I'm not the one deciding public policy.

It's easy for one person to think, my individual contribution doesn't move the needle so why bother. Sorry about the rant but it matters.
Posted By: TimR Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/23/20 03:33 PM
Trombone teachers have moved to online - most of them teach university students and most of these schools have closed, so they're forced.

The common student complaint "I played it better at home!" no longer works.

I guess the virus dies in a couple days on a surface so we have an excuse not to practice every day now. Alas, it's just one of those habits like brushing teeth.
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
The problem is that people think, “Oh, it’s not here yet so it’s ok if I do this or that.” I’m pretty sure that’s what people said in Italy, then Spain, then the UK, then the US, etc. Look what’s happened now.


Exactly what I wanted to post! Excellent point.
Posted By: scirocco Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/23/20 05:50 PM
I’m also in Australia and my teacher has cancelled lessons effective today. I think it would be pretty irresponsible to do otherwise now that the Government has closed non-essential shops.

A bit more pain right now might mean less pain overall in the long run. But people here seem to be asleep to that - groups of people still meeting up in public and so on. It’ll only lead to more draconian restrictions if people lack the gumption to act responsibly of their own volition.
Posted By: Operator Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/23/20 10:08 PM
My piano teacher has given me two options.

1) The usual lesson, sort of, just via video chat.
2) He will send me a list of instructions that I will follow and record, not stopping for screw-ups, and not editing the video. With that, he will construct a five-day practice plan. Rinse and repeat next week.

I love the second option.
Posted By: EDV Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/24/20 05:17 PM
Okay people, I am thinking I agree with most of you and will probably go the Skype lesson route.
Problem is.... my lessons are usually 2 hours long. Not uncommon for a call to drop after 50 minutes or so ( Skype related ) Also, although I use webcam on a laptop, most people only know how to use Skype via cell phone... and again "Not uncommon for a call to drop after 50 minutes or so, due to low battery".
In view of these issues, I am not liking my chances of giving a long lesson. The other thing is, I am considering charging 50% less for Skype lessons ( even though it's twice the trouble ). So if I go from 2 hour lessons, to 30 minute lessons, charging 50% less.. well, you do the math.

Any advice on this matter greatly appreciated !
The main reason for not charging less is that you're still offering your expertise. Put it this way, if you offer expertise at HALF rate, then when the crisis is over, how is it that you can suddenly be back to being worth double?

In my studio, "everyone" is under stay-at-home orders (except essential functions), so we are doing two shorter lessons per week. This is actually ideal for beginner children, but there is no chance of that in "normal" times.
Posted By: keystring Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/24/20 07:43 PM
I think that EDV is saying that with Skype you can have disruptions such as calls dropping, and other problems. 2 hours of lesson might actually contain 60 - 90 minutes of the teaching that a normal 120 minutes would contain. If so, the same thing isn't being delivered.

EDV, what if you charge "per lesson" rather than "per time" ? In fact, in my present profession (I am also a trained teacher) there is a "unit rate" which goes "per word" or "per hour" but I charge "per project", and use the "unit rate" as a basis for calculation. Two projects containing the same number of words may involve much more work in one than the other. Similarly, for some projects we have "per hour" - I will calculate my fee based on how many hours I think it will take, promise that I will not raise that fee if it ends up taking longer, but will reduce the fee if I discover it takes much less time. Here, too, it's "per project". As a teacher you are not producing widgets at an assembly line, you're teaching.

In fact, does teaching involve "per hour" really? I remember when I did one-on-one teaching in a regular arrangement over a year (languages), I might spend up to an hour preparing material for the hour-long lesson. The charge is only for the lesson, and not the preparation. Your fee for a lesson that is 60 minutes, or 45, or stretches to 80 because it's going so great and you have the time - is it actually really a per hour fee, or a per lesson fee (or 'lesson slot' fee, if you want to avoid the 'makeup' conundrum)?
Posted By: EDV Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/24/20 07:43 PM
I agree... however I also think that given the chance, most people would choose "the real thing" and not the Skype lesson. The Skype lesson is limited in so many ways it's not even funny. On the other hand the safety factor, which most students will appreciate , has a value of its own in the current circumnstances.
I am a little worried about two way video chat, video and audio quality are usually poor during high internet traffic times... I might be able to get around that problem by using the "send video message" feature. Done it before and does improve the video quality
I meant that if a 2-hour lesson doesn't last on Skype, perhaps two 1-hour lessons would (or two 50-min, if that's the technology limit). Of course in-person is ideal but when you're forced to have an alternative...or a student could choose to take a break/quit.

I find that certain types of question/answer or playing/feedback don't strictly need to be live exchange, i.e., an audio or video recording can be sent and comments given (or a demonstration recording sent back). This is not a traditional "lesson" but is part of the teacher offering expertise. You can't not-charge for doing that kind of stuff outside of "face time" but that definitely starts to sound like project-based work than hours-based.
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/24/20 10:31 PM
I think the big elephant in the room is how many parents are willing to continue with piano lessons, given what's going on in the world. Their reluctance to accept online teaching format is merely masking their current state of mind. Let's face it: piano lessons are not essential to life. It's more like a luxury item, like eating out and fine dining.

I tried teaching online. It works better than I though it would, and my students feel the same way. The real reason that most students are taking a long break right now is that parents have a ton of "stuff" going on (fear, social distancing, job loss, home-schooling, etc.), and they just can't handle another non-essential item in their lives.
Posted By: EDV Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/25/20 12:17 AM
I'd like to add that for a music lover, music is a VITAL part of life... the only part that makes sense, a refuge, an oasis, an escape. With so much frustration, fear and hopelessness in the current situation, music is the one thing that will keep us sane. That is the way I've always felt. Musicians' lives are often chaotic, relationships do not last, money problems and many other problems come with the territory, but music sometimes gives a kind of meaning to our lives, so in that sense I would say, music is ESSENTIAL to many of us. And with church gatherings and sports banned , music might be the only activity right now offering physical, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment.
Posted By: dogperson Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/25/20 12:33 AM
EDV
You’re right about the value of music but if you have lost your job, are worrying about how to feed your kids and whether you will lose your house, lessons are no longer a priority. In the US, a significant percentage of households do not have $400 in savings. Basic biological needs will come first.
And to that end, I have never seen job losses like it is now. I wasn’t around during the Great Depression but I hazard to guess that is the only thing that comes close. I hope it will only be a blip, a temporary thing of only a few months. WestJet Airlines in Canada has laid off half its workforce, 7000 people. I suspect the mass layoffs around the world will come shortly, if not already. I’m also hoping it won’t happen to me but who knows, anything can happen these days. Mortgage, food, utilities, medications...if it happens to me, piano lessons will definitely be on the chopping block. No choice. Surviving comes first.

Wow, what a sad post. I really hope the employers can hang on long enough to not lay off their workers.
Good point, falling demand for discretionary or luxury goods/services would mean price would have to come down? Otherwise, people would choose alternatives or only "the 1%" would be able to access them.

Personally, I'm fortunate to be able to absorb a bit of loss. So far, there's only been one reported layoff in my studio (beginner and intermediate children; any adult students are parents), but more may be yet to come. I cannot find it in my heart to let a student go for financial reasons especially right now, so if someone is in that situation but still wants to learn, I'll find some small way to accommodate them, within my limits. Not everyone will be able/willing to do that, and it does set up a possibly awkward conversation in the future (when this is all over), but I'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Posted By: dogperson Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/25/20 02:39 PM
Hey strings
Why not just have the financial conversation now? Such as ‘ you’re a very motivated student, so I would like to .... ‘
‘Of course , This can’t be permanent but I want to help out until you are back on your feet financially ‘
When a parent gives an indication, I open the conversation. I also put it in the update emails in general terms so if they read it, they should know, but I wouldn't approach individual families unprompted. If from their end it's not about money but even spending the time/energy while everything else is in chaos, I would understand that too.
Posted By: MrsM Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/26/20 04:18 PM
I feel it's kind of selfish to try and convince someone to do something they obviously don't want to do because you will lose a benefit. I understand the concept of not wanting to lose money, but you should value your Students feelings and respect them equally to yours. I apologize if I come off as rude, but the whole "Well Skype doesn't do __ and ___ as well as in person" and the music is essential to life argument seems kind of like you are trying to convince us and yourself that pushing your student is the right thing to do.

To be honest if I expressed to a teacher that I was considering cancelling lessons temporarily because I was concerned about my safety and they tried to 'push' me into still coming, I would be very turned off and probably start thinking about finding a new teacher. But again, these are just my opinions. To think that you are immune from this illness and are inviting people into your home is very irresponsible. Young, healthy people are dying from this and your student (and yourself!) are not immune.
Posted By: jdw Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/26/20 10:47 PM
The call dropping doesn't seem like such a big issue to me. You just call back (takes less than a minute), or you plug in the phone. It's a minor annoyance, hardly a big obstacle.
Posted By: EDV Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/28/20 01:04 PM
Update: My students seem to want to go along with Skype lessons, though I'm not sure if that will last. Lucky for me they are mature students with fairly secure jobs. I hope I can adapt to this new medium, I am sure most teachers would agree it's not ideal, although private students tend to be more motivated than regular school students.
EDV, I read somewhere recently that in order for this to succeed the teacher must believe in it. If not, how will your students believe in it? Perhaps a change of attitude is in order?

If you haven’t already please take a look at some threads in the Adult Beginners Forum, where students have been rather positive about their experience with online lessons.

Heres’s one:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-zoom-for-piano-lessons.html#Post2959798

Posted By: zillybug Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/28/20 04:14 PM
I had my my first lesson on Zoom yesterday and it went quite well. I think you will find that most teachers who teach online prefer Zoom to Skype. It seems to work better for music.
Originally Posted by zillybug
I had my my first lesson on Zoom yesterday and it went quite well. I think you will find that most teachers who teach online prefer Zoom to Skype. It seems to work better for music.


Agreed. My teacher also used Zoom for my lessons.
Posted By: keystring Re: How can I make my student feel safe ? - 03/28/20 07:02 PM
EDV, I sent a PM (private message) a few days ago. Look for the flashing envelop in the upper right screen.
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