We sell mostly to parents so it has been relatively easy to contact them all and offer on line lessons. Many have taken up the offer gratefully, and the teacher members have quickly come to grips with all the technical issues this raises:

  • Which software / app etc to use
  • How good is their own internet signal
  • Where to set up in the house

It has also thrown up a great deal of reflection on how we usually teach compared with the changes we are now making. Simple things like usually teaching a group in a small practice room compared with one looking straight at you through a screen. The issue of not being able to sync accompaniments, what to use to create / send audio tracks to pupils so they can play “with you”

Is the lesson content the same, can you really hear the sound they are making? etc

There is a bonus around the increase in parent awareness of what is going on, and this giving a real insight into what and how, as well as understanding that practice makes things better!

We have one teacher who says he is enjoying it more than being in the room!!!, several who are struggling with the technology, and one who is coping well but is desperate to get back to live teaching!!…and of course everything in between.

School billed lessons have been harder to manage. A few schools have asked parents to contact us and the lessons are set up on line and we are continuing to charge the schools. Some haven’t replied and a couple have said a definite no. However, they are now beginning to come back to us with a realisation that we are all in this for the long haul and maybe they should think again!

We are beginning to think about what happens next:  if schools go back part time / some classes at a time / etc and how to offer a range of options given that they will probably all see things differently.

We are going to draft some ideas, send them to the members for comment / additions etc, and then when we know what the first next step is, send to schools, parents and teachers. We imagine that to begin with we will carry on with on line, but come September, who knows. It seems such a long way ahead as things change from day to day….

We are talking about some kind of recruitment videos and strategies, as of course our usual round of June / July recruitment is out of the window!

Jenny Brown from Bedford Music Co-op