From July 2nd until September 3rd we are on our summer hours. This means that, while you can call us at our normal hours (Monday-Friday 10-9 Saturday 10-5) we are only physically in the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3-7
The Victoria Day weekend is upon us. While we are open for music lessons the Friday and Saturday, we are closed for both online music lessons and in person music classes on the holiday Monday.
With the governments cancelling so many things, it may get confusing or even seem pointless, to stick to these kinds of routines, but we here at the River Heights School of Music think retaining as much of our normal routines will be key to making the best of the situation handed to us by the government.
Have a great weekend, even if it is just in your backyard!
As the restriction are lifting here in the province of Manitoba, businesses here in Winnipeg, such as the River Heights School of Music, can re-open to the public on a limited basis. Prior to the closing we were applying the physical distancing required at the time. To re-open our music school we have ramped up those measures.
We have propped open the door so you have no handles to touch
Have hand sanitizer at your first stop.
We have limited the seating in the waiting area, orange tape marking where to stand when talking to reception and where to sit or stand during your lesson.
We have removed the water cups and the water cooler.
Closed off studio 5.
Have bleach cleaner and hand sanitizer in all the studios. Removed boot trays to create wider areas
Our teachers are self screening.
Right now there 1-3 teachers plus front desk in the office
About ¼ of the students are having in studio lessons with the rest opting to continue with contactless remote video lessons.
Some are looking at coming in later and/or intermittently
So whether you are an existing student or are looking to start music lessons with us you can rest assured the health and safety of our teachers, staff, families and student is our focus.
Fun fact: when the world went a bit nuts and people horded all the disinfectant wipes, we at the River Heights School of Music were fine, because we’ve always have some on hand. We have been wiping down music stands, desk and pianos for 9 years.
By now, more than a few of you have opted for the virtual lesson. The live video music class has it’s advantages and it’s short falls. Once we are passed this phase, we can still use video lessons as tool during more ordinary times. When the student can’t come in but is still at home, lessons while at the cottage, lessons when the student is sick but not bed ridden, etc.
Make up lessons maybe completely avoided this way but classes can also be made up this way in the future. We are using www.zoom.us
Of course the obvious upside of the video lessons is being able to continue them through this interruption. Going forward, the upside will be in the form of making attending lessons weekly even easier. One hidden benefit of music lessons via internet video, is that it is great for the ears. Our ears are an obvious, but sometimes overlooked, learning sense. Hearing the teacher play the piece or passage correctly, combined with watching the music, really reinforces the co-relationship between what we see and what we hear and what we play.
Another upside, we are hoping for, is getting away some families and students away from confusing the lesson with the practicing. When I hear a parent or student refer their lesson as ‘practice’ (as in Johnny can’t make it to his music practice, see you next week) It may be a slip of the tongue in this sports oriented world, but it may also be indicative of thinking lesson time IS the practice.
The number one difference and downside is the time lag (AKA latency). This prevents the teacher and student playing at the same time. This can vary but is always there. We have souped up our internet connection at the school but here is what you can do at home:
Wired connections are best but that is only practical for portable instruments like guitar, ukulele, sax, etc.
Avoid using a phone, the screens are just too small and the speakers too poor for students to see and here the teacher
Move the tablet or laptop so the teacher can see the student and their hands (and feet in the case of drum students) and the student can still see the screen.
With younger students and the more prone to distraction types, a parent really needs to be near by.
To combat lag, stutter and freezing, make sure that no other heavy WiFi resource is hogging bandwidth. That means Netflix, YouTube, general streaming, etc.
Where possible use plug in ear buds (the kind with the built in mic) this can combat a number of sound issues
Typically these lessons are, demonstration by the student, critique by the teacher, corrected playing by the student, demonstrating by the teacher etc.
Where we are seeing the most issues are voice and drum set lessons. With drum lessons, acoustic drums overload the mics on tablets and laptops. With voice, the teacher is always the accompanist and since real time isn’t possible this can present some issues. For drums we may need to switch to practice pads or just sticks on a pillow for a few lessons. For voice students, we are going to make some vocal warm-up videos and post them on our YouTube. During your lesson you can sing a long with them for the teacher to hear. Hopefully we can find karaoke style backing tracks in each student’s key, send links and those can be used during lessons as well.
Thanks to all for sticking with us through these changing days! Your support means so much to us! Hopefully these few tips can help us make the video lessons a decent replacement to real life lessons until real life returns to us.
Because the federal liberal government removed the tax credit for the arts, we haven’t arbitrarily sent out tax receipts to families with children enrolled in our music school. There is a tiny provincial credit that a few are eligible for. If you still want a tax receipt for music lessons, please send us an email.
Here in Manitoba, Remembrance Day is a half day holiday. It is not a statutory holiday in as much as not every province has it and federal employees still have to work. So your mail gets delivered and there are music lessons.
As a rule we are closed all federal holidays March Break and Christmas Break
We are back at our regular hours and lessons schedule as of Tuesday September the 3rd. If you haven’t registered for the Sept-June session, you still can! Because all our lessons are private, you can sign up for music classes any time of the year. But if you have specific needs like a particular day and/or time you need then sooner is better than later as those good times get snapped up quickly!