As we have all been responding to COVID-19 and lessons have moved online, we are so grateful to our wonderful Suzuki community for supporting each other through the process. A big thank you to all the parents and teachers being flexible, being creative, and finding what works best for your situation to keep the music going in your community.

As we have all settled into our new routines, we wanted to find out from teachers in our community what is helping make online lessons work for them.

For some of us, it has been learning new technology, adjusting our schedules, and even finding creative ways to work with our students.

Recently we asked teachers to share the one thing making online lessons work for them right now, and we loved the responses we got.

Some general themes emerged including:

- Teachers are trying new approaches to note-taking: including older students taking more ownership, leaving time at the end of the lesson to go over notes even more thoroughly than before, and creating practice videos together right in the lesson.

- Teachers are learning the importance of being flexible and creative with both teaching and practicing right now. Some teachers mentioned adjusting their schedule with more breaks or seeing students twice a week for a shorter period of time. Many of us are learning how to adapt group classes and recitals to an online format.

- Teachers are making more use of short videos sent to (and received from) students during the week: Several teachers shared that they have been relaying video messages back and forth with students about teaching points. Some have even shared that this is the primary way they are interacting with some students during this time.

Trish Horroks shared: “In addition to the lesson, I ask students to make and send me a recording of a polished piece so that I can continue to assess tone development. I use a few minutes at the beginning of the lesson time to listen and write down observations before calling the student. The online lesson is fine for working on new notes, posture, and reading but the sound quality leaves much to be desired. These recordings really help!”

- The structure of lessons, group class, and practice is really helpful to many families right now.

“I was worried that they’d be overtaxed with everything going on and that I was just another person asking for them to do yet another thing. But week after week, I get feedback from them that the lessons provide structure, that the kids look forward to them (one wrote to me that they were bummed to not have a lesson during spring break!). The parents tell me that the routine was a comfort to them, too, because they are already well-practiced at being part of their children’s lessons and it isn’t a new ‘homeschool’ activity they had to learn/adapt,” said Suzuki piano teacher Angie Tung.

Our current times are asking all of us to be creative, flexible, and find new ways of doing things! What is the one thing that is making online lessons work for you? Please share what you’d like to add in the Teacher Forum .