Schools Closing? We have a Plan!
Friday, March 13, 2020 by Mary O'Connor | OCMS
What Will Happen If Schools Close In Fairfax County?
Piano lessons will continue because we have a plan!
Please note that I clean the piano and keyboard keys with Clorox wipes between each student. Students are expected to wash hands before lessons and after using the restroom. Hand sanitizer is available.
I am continuously monitoring press releases from public health officials both locally and nationwide and have developed a plan for continuity in piano lessons should we need to implement it.
If any of the school districts that students in our studio attend close down or the health department provides suggestions to more seriously limit interaction and engage in social distancing, piano lessons will continue for students of ALL ages.
Our contingency plan if Fairfax County Schools close is to:
- Close the physical studio temporarily
- Provide online lesson options completely customized towards each student using an app/website called Tonara. All students have been assigned user names and passwords already. Your log-in information is in your student’s notebook or I will send it to you.
- All assignments are due by the beginning of the student’s regularly scheduled lesson time and new ones along with comments about the past week will be given during the regular lesson time. Students will still be expected to continue practicing, completing all assignments and demonstrating progress.
- We started using Tonara March 11, 2020 for assignments so that students will be accustomed to it is needed for real.
- There will be assigned theory games using an app called SproutBeat. You can download this in the app store. All students have been assigned user names and passwords already. Your log-in information is in your student’s notebook or I will send it to you.
- There may be assigned theory games using a website called SproutBeat Leap. You use it in a browser window at https://leap.sproutbeat.com/home . All students have been assigned user names and passwords already. Your log-in information is in your student’s notebook or I will send it to you.
- There may be written theory work from your assigned theory book If so, please take a picture of it in Tonara and upload it along with other assignments. It could also be scanned and emailed to email@example.com
- For students with iPads, please be sure that you have downloaded PianoMaestro. There will be weekly assignments listed under “Home Challenge”. Please try to get 3 stars. It is possible to slow the pieces down but you may lose points/stars doing so. If it’s really hard, try the Learn Mode.
- For students without iPads, I will assign at least one or two pieces to be videoed in the Tonara app/website and submitted to me for feedback. These will be due by the beginning of the student’s regularly scheduled lesson time and new (or review) ones will be given during the regular lesson time. Feedback will also be provided during the scheduled lesson time.
- Depending on how long school is canceled, we may have online lessons using StreamYard as a virtual piano studio during the regularly scheduled lesson time. I will create a 'broadcast' for the day and send the same link to all my students. When a student clicks in I see them “backstage” and add them to the lesson, so we can both see/hear each other. Then when the lesson is over the next one has already arrived. I click that one through and the 3 of us are there for a minute. they say hello/goodbye just like in a live lesson.
- Other Apps you might want to try at home:
- Theory: Music Theory Pro – a great tool for preparing for auditions: scales, chords, intervals and more
- Theory: Jungle Journey
- Rhythm: Rhythm Swing – a fun, interactive game that covers basic note values
- Rhythm: Rhythm Lab – assign rhythms for students to practice and tap- hands alone or together
- Rhythm: Rhythm Cat
- Note-Reading: Flashnote Derby – a customizable game where students ‘race’ to select the correct note
- Note-Reading: Note Squish: think whac-a-mole with notes. Also customizable by clef (includes alto clef!)
- Note-Reading: Noteworks
- Note-Reading: Staff Wars
- Note-Reading: Note Rush: great for keyboard geography. Students have to play the note that pops up
- Note-Reading: Treble Cat
- Note-Reading: Bass Cat
- Ear Training: Beat Melody – great intro to ear training
- Ear Training: Ear Cat
Your payment will still be due at the same time. All assignments are due by the beginning of the student’s regularly scheduled lesson time and new ones along with comments about the past week will be given during the regular lesson time. Students will still be expected to continue practicing, completing all assignments and demonstrating progress.
If you have an underlying health concern or family member who has one that you believe puts you in a high-risk group and you would like to take steps ahead of time to mitigate your exposure, please let me know and I will set up online lessons for you (see #10 above).
Did I forget anything? Questions or comments?
Happy Fourth of July!
Monday, July 4, 2022 by Mary O'Connor | holiday
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.
Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner", "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful", "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", "This Land Is Your Land", "Stars and Stripes Forever", and, regionally, "Yankee Doodle" in northeastern states and "Dixie" in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.
A bit of audio for your listening pleasure, as played by Vladimir Horowitz...
Summer Camp is officially in session!
Thursday, June 16, 2022 by Mary O'Connor | piano maestro
Take a bow, Alon Kaplan, for creating the first fun Summer Camp song, Disney hit "We Don't Talk About Bruno"
Available in three versions, it can be found in the new 'Summer Camp' category in the Library or tap the button on the main menu.
Tune in each week to see which other free songs will be released in Summer Camp to keep your students sharp. And remember, every 3-star performance gives your students the chance to win an Amazon Gift Card. Enjoy!