It's school holiday time! Those of you who are in school have had a topsy-turvy first semester and I'm sure you're enjoying the break after the exams and assignments of the last few weeks. Across the road, the Stafford Skate Centre has re-opened and now we're singing along to the distant rumble of the hottest party tracks of the past few decades while they have their school holiday sessions. It only takes one listen of "Baby Shark" to get it stuck in your head for days!
After two weeks of face-to-face lessons the new teaching space has well and truly been tested, and I think the general consensus in that it's a step up from the previous studio. I'm loving the new layout and finding it easy to switch between in-person and online lessons throughout the day.
Some more good news this week (on the back of all the good news last week) - I'll be offering the option of resuming face-to-face lessons starting on Monday May 25th, two weeks from yesterday. This is the same proposed date as the return to school for most students.
Between now and then I'll be putting in place my COVID-Safe work plan and some ongoing studio policies (and trying to find some stock of hand sanitiser!). There'll be much more information to come next week.
Importantly, this is optional. If you wish to continue with video lessons until you feel ready, that's absolutely fine! Zoom lessons are here to stay as a lesson format anytime you prefer to learn from home.
I've had a mammoth couple of weeks - moving house is no joke! As much as it was difficult climbing the staircase at the old house for your lesson, I'll bet you're glad you didn't have to do it 100+ times in 3 days! The good news is that I'm now well and truly settled in to the new house and the new teaching space and I'm looking forward to having you here again for in-person lessons once guidelines have shifted a little further
In very exciting news, it's time to look at the eighth and final step to improving your musicianship:
Have fun. Be silly. Step outside your zone.
Now, everyone has their own reasons for wanting to learn music. Some are in it for the long-haul and are chasing a career, some are hoping to be able to jam with their friends, some are simply wanting to sit in their room and play some favourite songs. Whatever the motivation, there are some serious benefits to not taking this whole thing so seriously.
It's time to continue our journey along the 8 Steps to Improving Your Musicianship with number 7:
You will improve with repeated practise.
One of the most common responses I'm given when I ask my students each week how their practise has been is, "I don't feel like I've made any improvement." A little further in to the lesson when I ask the same student to play the piece or section they've been working on, I can see a stark difference in progression from the week before. So how come there's such a discrepancy in what the student notices and what I notice?
The last couple of weeks of day-to-day life has seen a lot of adjustment required from everybody, so I'm incredibly thankful to each of you who has been able to continue your lessons with me online. I'm feeling more and more 'at home' with the change in lesson format and I hope you are as well. If you have any feedback at all about the online lessons - positives, negatives, suggestions - please let me know, my goal is to make these lessons at least as valuable as face-to-face in the studio.
I have two big challenges as a teacher that I'd love your help with.
Now, time for number 6 on the list of 8 Ways to Improve Your Musicianship:
Your whole body is free to move and co-ordinate when you’re balanced.
For some of you, this is a topic that we've looked at in-depth, for some of you it's something that we're yet to visit, but this point is a crucial one when it comes to playing the piano. Most of the time when we sit, we're looking to relax. We sit back, we put our weight on our bottom, and the mere thought of reaching for the remote is groan-inducing. This is where playing the piano is different.
With the COVID-19 advice changing at a rapid rate, the expectation is that a decision will be made in the near future by the State or Federal Government that enforces a restriction on non-essential businesses and travel. At the moment, the advice is to reconsider your need to travel outside your home, with the emphasis on using your "common sense".
With this in mind, I am recommending that all lessons be moved to online lessons from now until further notice so that we can all play our part in trying to flatten the curve of the rate of infection. While the studio will remain open to in-person lessons until required to close, this is a great opportunity for us all to be proactive about the situation.
You can find details on how to prepare for your online lessons here.
There will continue to be a 20% discount across online lessons this week to allow us some time in each lesson to make sure that everything is working.
To join your online lesson, follow the link in your Lesson Reminder. I'll also be adding the link to the Evernote folders for those who are already using that platform for lesson notes.
I welcome your feedback at any time and am happy to discuss any of the above or to help you set yourself up. It's certainly a strange time for everyone, and I hope that your lessons can continue to be a welcome contribution to your quality of life over this period.
It's time to continue our journey down the 8 Steps to Improving your Musicianship with step 5:
You can’t change something that has already happened. Don’t let it stop you.
This step is all about how we react to the much feared, and ever present... MISTAKES! I spend a lot of time with all of you talking about your mistakes, and for good reason - we all make them! I've mentioned to many of my students that I've never played a song perfectly, and the looks that I get usually suggest that you don't believe me. However, it is very true.