Last month we highlighted music educators that have taken their in-person lessons online during the pandemic, with the help of Soundslice. Since that story, more teachers have shared with us their stories of musical resilience. We’d like to feature a few of them here.
Dan Peterson — Washington D.C. Metro, USA
Dan Peterson is a former member of the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” Since retiring from service in 2013, Dan has maintained an active teaching schedule in the D.C. metro area, with around 60 in-person students. The majority of Dan’s students are learning guitar or ukulele, though he also teaches bass, mandolin, harmonica and music theory.
When the coronavirus arrived, Dan quickly pivoted his in-person lessons so that they could continue remotely. After getting over the hump of setting up Zoom for everyone, he found that adding Soundslice-prepared notation as a supplement to his instruction seemed to be a hit for his distance learners. One of his mandolin students, Heidi, said:
“As I progress and learn more complex fingering, it is important for me to see what Dan’s fingers are doing compared to [just] the music notation. Not being able to have face-to-face lessons was going to slow me down. Then Dan started using Soundslice — what a wonderful app! On the left hand of my screen I can see Dan’s fingers on the frets up close, and on the right is the music. There’s a red cursor, so if I get goofed up, I know exactly where to continue again. The best part is I can use Dan’s Soundslice presentations any time I want!”
Though technical limitations prohibited some of Dan’s students from continuing on with him remotely, he did say that the overall success of the virtual lessons has him rethinking his previous teach-from-home business model and 70-mile commute. (He lives in West Virginia.) He says the possibility of continuing to teach remotely would give him both “extra hours and quite a bit of extra sanity!”
“I can see how Soundslice could help me build an online curriculum for distance learning as well as stand-alone courses for those not actively enrolled in lessons.”
UkeBoxLessons — Ottawa, Canada
Joel Jacques teaches private and group ukulele lessons in Ottawa through his school UkeBoxLessons. Though he’s been using Soundslice with his students for a while now, he told us about how he used it to coordinate a recent group project with his students.
“During this period, my group instrumental ensemble still gets together to learn new material online on Zoom, with the music shared through Soundslice. The special new project we've undertaken this month is to have the members record themselves playing their parts at home using Soundslice as their reference track.” [See the assembled performance slice below.]
“It’s been a nice project to get everyone comfortable with using more technology for music making. It’s nice as well to keep that feeling of working on a collective project.”
Conservatorio de Música de Bahía Blanca — Argentina
Conservatorio de Música de Bahía Blanca is a free, public music school with nearly 1,500 students ranging from nine-year-olds to adults. When the quarantine was declared in Argentina, the school was about to begin its semester. Determined to start instruction, the staff began improvising solutions that would let them send notation and recordings digitally to their students. (One solution was the creation of animated YouTube videos.)
When they discovered Soundslice, the “enthusiasm of the teachers” and “positivity of the students” was immediate. Students were quickly accessing slices with joined notation and recordings via their phones. (See one of the prepared slices below.) Some were even submitting audio and video recordings of themselves to their teacher via our new performances feature.
An instructor at the conservatory, Pablo Marfil, told us:
“After I told my colleagues about Soundslice, we created a WhatsApp group to share knowledge. In less than a week, there were more than ten professors producing slices for sax, violin, clarinet, acoustic and electric bass, ensembles…nearly a hundred slices and counting.”
“I think this is a great example of how the crisis has sharpened our creativity. [Given resource limitations.] Many of our students have access to [web] content only via very basic cell phones — which is another reason Soundslice works so well. We frequently hear gratitude from our students about being able to continue their musical studies. An ‘oasis’ during the quarantine.”
UpBeat — Arizona Arts in Schools (Update)
One of the music organizations we highlighted in our previous story, UpBeat, just released the video of the virtual, end-of-the-year concert they told us they were planning. Congratulations to the students and teachers involved!