In this unprecedented time of uncertainty around COVID-19, class piano instructors are faced with the daunting task of moving instruction online. Here are some tips from leading class piano teachers on how to make this transition.
Organize your students:
- Assignments may take longer to complete at home. Have reasonable expectations of workload.
- Give specific deadlines for assignment completion.
- Specify how and where students should submit assignments.
- If submitting video, recommend Google drive, Dropbox, or another online file-sharing platform. Videos are often too large to send over email.
- Consider setting up a Facebook page for your class. Have students upload performances and ask students to provide comments.
- Ask students to video conference with and play for one another.
- If possible, set up one-on-one video conferences with students. This takes away the feeling of isolation and allows you to give feedback.
- Listen to your students. They are also going through a stressful time of anxiety and uncertainty.
When your students do not have access to a piano:
- Create written assignments: have students write in fingerings for skills, harmonic progressions, transpose melodies, analyze form, etc.
- Paper pianos can be used to "play" assignments.
- Require students to sing solfege, scale degrees, or finger numbers while playing a paper piano or "ghosting" on a tabletop. This will connect their aural skills to their hand motions.
- Sing the fingering needed for individual parts of open scores
- Piano apps can be downloaded and will allow students to play two or three octaves. Some do not allow for multiple notes to be played at the same time.
- Assign written reflections of recordings. (YouTube or other sources)
- Create a playlist of repertoire previously learned. Compare and contrast the performances.
- Assign YouTube videos that showcase various genres of piano music – identify style, harmonic progressions, patterns.
- Record videos of yourself that include inaccuracies in technique, notes/rhythm, style, etc. Have students identify inaccuracies and how to fix them.
- Ask students to write practice plans detailing how they would approach a new piece of repertoire.
- Record or send audio files of melodies with chordal accompaniments. Ask students to identify the chord progression.
- Contact local music centers/dealers to inquire about instrument rental.
- Inquire in local social media groups about individuals who may be able to loan out keyboards.
- Silicone "roll-up" keyboards can be purchased cheaply.
- Piano for the Developing Musician – http://pdmpiano.org/
- https://utheory.com/ - offering free institutional licenses for those schools impacted by COVID-19
- University of Iowa Piano Pedagogy Project
- Classroom Maestro
- Zoom video platform
- Virtual Piano app
- ReadAhead - Sight reading app
- Roland Go:Livecast - Livestreaming studio for smartphones
- ABRSM SightReading Trainer
- Henle Library
- Home Concert Extreme
- Piano by Real Piano Keyboard