My Experience with Distance Learning… so far
Last March when Ohio and much of the world shut down we frantically changed to distance learning. There was a steep learning curve. I hadn’t done much with
FaceTime except talking to my children or my parents. I had never heard of Zoom.
So the teachers all over the world reached out to one another to help navigate
uncharted or at least minimally charted territory so that we could all “see” our
students. I missed seeing my students in person. I couldn’t just physically change
something like a bow hold. I couldn’t always read their body language fast enough, to keep frustration low. Most of all I missed playing with them, hearing our sound mix together and having that most spontaneous of musical experiences that we ebb and flow together.
I discovered that I was able to really focus on one technique for a substantial
amount of time. I saw things that I might have missed in person. I had fewer
outside distractions. I found myself listening more instead of always playing along. I found new words to describe how I wanted something to work. I remember in graduate school my teacher saying you need 100 ways to do something and then you better come up with a hundred more since we all learn differently. I hadn’t had to come up with so many ways in many years, but boy I had to now. Its like a big puzzle, I love puzzles. I heard more, since we couldn’t talk at the same time. A funny little thing that I really enjoyed was seeing a little more into my students’ lives. I liked seeing where they practiced, their favorite toys and their pets.
I worried a little about group classes. Private lessons were one thing, but a whole group of people that couldn’t actually hear each other seemed strange. So I came up with themes. We explored new places, music and ideas. Things I probably wouldn’t have done if we were learning face to face. I even took a class myself as a student. It was so eye opening. I was able to experience distance learning from the student’s perspective. I had FUN! I felt like I was playing with other people. We communicated with each other.
We shared ideas. I forgot I was on the computer, in my spare bedroom.
Something amazing happened; we are learning how to make it work. More than making it work we are learning to grow and thrive in a different situation. Humans are resilient, we are adaptable and we are all life long learners. I have chosen not to lament what I can’t do, but rather embrace what I can.
So here we go! Welcome to the new normal, distance learning for now.
Watch us grow!