Today is the first day of e-Learning at schools in Illinois.
Spring Break is over, but we are not back at school. With the Covid 19 pandemic, teachers are at home learning how to teach online. Students and families are also at home missing their routines. And, some of us are experiencing tragic losses of relatives and friends. All of us are uncertain and anxious.
So, what can we do that is positive?
I have found that the following practices have helped me in this trying time.
- Building a daily life with routines that include outdoor exercise, meditation and music.
- Going on a diet with regards to the news-checking only a few times in a day
- Playing my ukulele to keep me happy
- Sending music-grams to loved ones in this trying time.
For my public school teaching job, I teach orchestra. Musical ensembles such as band, orchestra and choir cannot be taught in the traditional way with everyone playing or singing at the same time. All of the video conferencing apps have a time lag of about a measure of music. This makes it impossible for groups to play together online. The beautiful videos we see of people playing together from different places involve headphones, a count-off and lots of video editing.
So, we have to come up with new ways to teach.
This is where my experience with online ukulele teaching comes into play. I can use the following resources to better reach my school students.
- Organizing and creating YouTube videos to teach new music.
- Sharing videos and reflection questions to deepen thinking about music. Encouraging students to think about how music brings joy to people, especially in this difficult time.
- Encouraging students to share with family members and each other by sending music-grams.
- Sharing screen casting videos to explain the intricacies of musical notation.
- Video conferencing to discuss feelings about what is going on.
- Video conferencing with students muted but still practicing with piano accompaniment to give the feeling of a live rehearsal.
- Paying it forward with gifting joy of music to others.
- Using music for private expression.
- Sharing music education sites to teach music theory and history.
- Encouraging musical composition and creativity with music notation, sound engineering and video editing software.
- Encouraging students to create parodies of existing songs to bring humor and levity to what is currently going on.
Please let us know what you think. Your ideas will help all of us!
I am hopeful that these ideas will be useful to my public school students and to my colleagues. I am also hopeful that we will be able to use some of these ideas to create an even better online ukulele learning experience for you.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please comment below. We send you our best wishes for health and happiness in this uncertain time.
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