As we yo-yo between eased restrictions and lockdowns, it's been hard to keep track of what is allowed and what isn't. The news that singing is allowed in groups of 15 now, was quite literally music to my ears, as I had missed the sound of my students all singing together. I spent 6 months teaching group singing lessons, never knowing how my group of talented little singers sounded. We finally got back into a dance studio last week and they were glorious. It was amazing to not need to second guess what feedback I might want to give them or what they might be struggling with. The joy of group singing was back!
However, as much as I have missed teaching in person, when it comes to one-to-one lessons, online is here to stay. I am looking for some studio space to teach face to face as well, but I've been amazed at how much can be gained from an online singing lesson with just one student. My students are able to stay in the comfort of their own home without the nerves of entering a new environment, and for the parents there's no need for a taxi service here there and everywhere.
Technology has moved on in leaps and bounds, and I was amazed at how much I could actually pick up about a student's voice, even with the slight Zoom delay. Any tension can still be seen and heard and dealt with, as can tuning issues, performance technique and confidence. These are all the areas I would work on in a studio, so nothing is left out online.
I have also enjoyed the autonomy that online lessons have given my students. Even the younger ones, with the help of their parents, are making sure they have their lyrics and backing tracks ready at their end. Before lockdown, I think I would baby my students a little bit and always be in charge of their music, but this has taught me they're quite capable of doing it for themselves and even seeking out backing tracks that they want to use in future lessons.
Yes, sure, there are sometimes technology hiccups, such as a dodgy connection or a few glitchy moments, but these have been few and far between. 2020 has felt like one big glitch for a lot of people, so it's important to find the positives and I am thrilled that online teaching means I can now reach out and help singers all over the UK and not just in my hometown. Long live zoom!