Do you remember the good old days? Students arriving for piano lessons as another student was leaving, parents chatting in the hallway and the lounge; the shoes and coats in the hallway; deliberately overlapping lessons to allow for combined aural sessions or duet playing; parents and siblings waiting in the lounge; student and teacher playing the same piano; using apps on my giant iPad...?
I have been studying and considering information and risk assessment documentation from the European Piano Teachers’ Association (UK) and pondering what a return to face to face lessons will be like. There is no doubt that things will be different from how they were before. What will lessons after lockdown look like?
Imagine you are the student.... Before you leave home you will change out of your school clothes and wash your hands. You arrive promptly, ring the doorbell and wait. You will take your shoes and coat off outside and put them in a bag that you bring with you (your parents can take your coat and shoes away or leave them outside the music room patio doors). I will let you in with a smile and a warm welcome (no parents or siblings will be allowed to come in). You will walk through to the music room without touching any doors and we will both sanitise our hands. There will be an electric piano as well as the acoustic piano in the room. You’ll need to get all your own music ready. We’ll stay at least 1m apart in the lesson (usually at least 2m). If I need to show you how to do something or accompany you I’ll use my electric piano. If we do singing activities we’ll stand as far apart as possible. We’ll have a lovely lesson and you’ll write practice notes in your own notebook or if you’re too young to do that I’ll send your parents a message explaining what you need to do. We’ll finish your lesson a few minutes early and you’ll see that your parents have arrived outside the music room patio doors, with your shoes and coat. We’ll say goodbye and your parents will help you put your shoes and coat on outside the patio door. I’ll be busy cleaning my piano and piano stool ready for the next pupil. If your parents aren't coming to collect you, your shoes and coat should be there waiting for you!
Imagine you are a student and you arrive on your own.... You do all of the above things except.... You put your shoes and coat in the bag you have with you, carry them through the house and put them outside the music room patio doors whilst your lesson is happening.
Imagine you are the parent.... You arrive promptly and play your part in the above! You will need to wait nearby so that if, for example, your child is desperate for the toilet or feels unwell you will be able to rush them home! Five minutes before the end of the lesson, you arrive at the rear of my house outside the music room (please keep the gate closed). You’ll probably be able to see and hear us finishing off the lesson. You’ll help your child with their shoes if necessary. I’m looking into affordable options for a porch outside the music room but this is unlikely to be in place by September. Of course, if you prefer to see what’s happening in your child’s lesson, you can wait outside the music room for the entire lesson.
It’s vital that we all stick to the times - I really don’t want shoeless children waiting outside on my patio, especially as the weather gets colder or if it’s raining! I will no longer be able to accommodate students arriving early or leaving late.
You must NOT come to your lesson if you, or anyone in your household has tested positive for Covid-19, has any of the symptoms of Covid -19, or has had contact with anyone with Covid-19. If you are not able to come to your lesson for any of these reasons, online video lessons will still be available whilst you are in quarantine.
How will it feel, do you think? Will we be fondly remembering the days when lessons were online?! I’m sure we’ll get into a new normal with this. On the whole, I think the benefits of having lessons ‘in person’ will make it all seem worthwhile. There’ll be no time delay, no freezing of the screen, and we’ll be able to see each other’s hands properly!