Gearing up for 'New Normal' in September

Sunday, July 5, 2020 by Kerry Anderson | Studio News


Where to start?

I hope this blog post finds you all safely enjoying the summer.  To those families who have lost loved ones, I send you my heart-felt condolences.  I have been fortunate with my own elderly parents, and going forward it's unclear what kind of life they will have.  Will families with older relatives have to coordinate their interaction around 14 day quarantine periods and doses of Zinc and vitamin D3?

There is a global consensus that nothing will be the same as it was last September for all organisations.  Here is what I know as it relates to the music school:


The Sound of Music will now be performed in spring mid-term break next year.  A modified course will be run in Newcastle Parish Centre each Friday at 5:00pm, and social distancing guidelines will be published in August.  This course will be run by Caroline Hill and Maura Flynn

Classes in Wicklow at East Glendalough School are still waiting for guidelines to be established from the ACCS (Association of Community & Comprehensive Schools), so as soon as we know, you will.


The school will be sending out a Survey Monkey and I really hope you can take the few minutes to complete it.  It's objective is to determine how we should proceed with these, as I personally think they have enormous potential.

All of the tutors agreed that teaching online was very different and very tiring.  Much more work, and feelings were mixed as to the future.  For some, it isn't tenable out of lockdown, due to shared accommodation. 

My own experience was quite positive.  I have really enjoyed knowing that the planet has had a breather! 

My experience is that all platforms are essentially the same, however I have not tried Facetime.  I have used Skype, Whereby and Zoom.  Bandwidth is a consideration, and it's unclear what the future holds as it relates to global 5G.  It was a little tricky and I had to reschedule about two lessons over lockdown. 

Each platform takes a bit of focus to reveal each one's capabilities.  I have run a musicianship class using Whereby each week with capacity for 12 students and this has been very satisfying for me.  Screen sharing is one of the most valuable features, as we can all see what is being discussed.  I will offer these in September, as they were great fun! Students love those emojis and shy students could remove their image and mute their screens.  

Piano/keyboard is very different and I believe if we continue with these online, certain conditions will apply for optimal success.  We did send out guidelines at the start of lockdown and these still apply, for example, no pyjamas and as much quiet in the room as possible.  Several of my students were accompanied by their parents, and this may not be needed if the family are equipped with phone holder (the ones with the long bendy arms and the clamp such as the Content Creator from SubbyTech).  

Parents who accompanied their students agreed that it was an enjoyable experience.  However, we know from experience that not all children will want to learn along side their parents.  The best feature of online lessons for me as teacher was being able to see the instrument being used; the seat and how well the student was positioned at the instrument.  Seat height, and the stability of the instrument, student posture at the instrument were all successfully addressed, and this will go a long way toward effective practise.

Students using electric keyboard - not the same as a digital piano - can all benefit from exercises to make up for the lack of weight in the keys, so it was useful to know what kind of instrument is being used at home for practise.  Some students had an interesting habit of playing with their bellybutton too close to the keys, and so this was quite revealing and it felt good to be able to address it in the home practise environment.  


Our tuition deposits deadline is August 1st 2020 and the calendars/fees will be published July 20th - subject to the government mandates.  Once you register, any credits for tuition will appear on your Term One invoice.


Therese has sent all students/parents their portal password, so now you have an excellent facility for accessing your membership details with WSMD. We would like to encourage you to use ALL the features offered by the school's software.  The practise log feature is one of the most important for monitoring the student's journey through tuition; and it enables both teacher and student to liaise BEFORE the lesson in preparation FOR the lesson.  Here are some cheat sheets:

It is my hope that you will be able to book and purchase your tuition for the September term via your student protal.


I think we have an exciting new opportunity to incorporate planet-friendly online tuition going forward, but this will mean a shift in delivery.  Please take the time to complete the survey which will arrive in the next few days.


It's never easy to say bye when one of our tutors does not renew their contract.  We all get so attached! Yet newly married Clare McEvoy (Dixon) has decided to focus her career exclusively on choral directing.  I know that all of her students will miss her very much but we'll meet again, hopefully in the audience of our next Musical Theatre Show.  We wish her the very best for the next chapter of her life. 

For those involved with musical theatre, you will be delighted to know that Maura Flynn will be taking Clare's place as musical director, and with loads of show production experience we are really looking forward to her work on The Sound of Music in 2021.

In the mean time, I wish you all well for the remainder of the summer. Stay safe.


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