The following tips have been provided by members of our Advisory Board and other music educators working in schools. They are listed in the order we received them and some of the ideas presented may be a work in progress.

Feel free to send through your ideas, and share any updates or suggestions.

Rebeccah Morris
Director of Instrumental Music | Knox Grammar Preparatory School

When setting up ZOOM or MEET I gave the Tutors and Parents instructions first.

You schedule a meeting for your weekly rehearsal/tutorial and invite each of the students to join your meeting via email/google classroom. The rehearsal is in their normal rehearsal time so as to keep their week as normal as possible.

Students to have their instrument and music ready. 

Students to be in a common area of the house, not in the bedroom by themselves.

Students to have their computer or device on mute 

You talk and they play.

  • I start all students off in MUTE.
  • I have my screen on tile so that I can see all of the students down the side in little thumbnail images.
  • I start of the rehearsal chatting to the students, saying hi to them all and making sure I CONNECT with them as this is what the younger students are really missing.
  • I give explicit instructions on what piece and bar numbers we are working on in today’s rehearsal.
  • I have successfully been conducting warm ups with all students on MUTE and asking one or two students to take off mute so that I can hear them and give them feedback on tuning etc (you know the students you need to do this for……  SAXES and Flutes….)
  • After instructions students simply click on the thumbs up icon in ZOOM or give a physical thumbs up.
  • Wave if you have a question and then I will ask student to unmute and listen to them.
  • Throughout the rehearsal I ask students to unmute and give timely feedback on their playing.
  • For the older ensembles I have been giving them fifteen minutes to practice whilst I stay online to help and give feedback if and when required and then after fifteen minutes I individually ask students to unmute and play the section they have been working on.
  • This weeks homework for top bands was to also record themselves playing Silent Movie with metronome on BPM 120 and then email it through to me or submit in Google Classroom so that I can give them feedback.

I am sure there are a LOT of other strategies and great ideas out there and happy to hear how others are getting online. I have found that the easier the music and lower the grade band (Junior Band’s) the easier the online rehearsal… the more notes the harder the rehearsal and the more activities I give to keep older students on track and practising. Overall the most important aspect of staying online and giving weekly rehearsals and emailing feedback is to give the students that CONNECTIVITY to help with their mental health and keep them energised and positive.

Stay Healthy and positive everyone!