Yesterday, we finished the first year of Online Music School. We had two 16-week semesters and I calculate that I talked in front of the camera for somewhere close to 200 hours. Roughly 150 students participated. Registrations were about equal for both semesters even though I only taught 5 classes in the second semester compared to 11 classes in the first semester.
All in all, I consider it a success though I am still tweaking. Though we never had a day where I could not teach due to technical problems such as an internet outage, there are things I want to improve with the technology. In fact, I would like to move away from Adobe Connect if possible and that is going to be one of my tasks for the summer.
Most students did not attend the live sessions; I assume that they watched the recordings of the sessions later but some obviously may have just dropped out and not told me. Some were very passionate about doing their assignments and learning and others did not turn in an assignment the entire time.
I get the impression that the participants were pretty evenly split between children and adults. One thing I know for sure is that many adults are passionate about getting better on the piano. I am happy to see that.
The younger generation really impressed me too. Here are a few examples of many. In our Beginning Theory class, we get to the point during the last few weeks where students have to write a song and harmonize it with all of the diatonic triads. I had an 11-year-old that handled that beautifully. And then the same week, I had a slightly older student who sent in this reharmonization for “I Am Thine O Lord.” (If you don’t see the video below, click here.)
This kind of work is very gratifying to me. The class that girl is in is very difficult but the students in there did great. I usually turned that 45-minute session into an hour and they stuck around the whole time asking questions and participating.