Lynne Rogers from B.C., Canada interview on teaching very young children online with success!
Lynne has been using Musicology since the early alpha days and is a veteran. Users will be intrigued with how she has navigated learning a new technology and how her students have adapted.
Q. Why did you decide to start teaching online?
A. I Started teaching online in January 2020, when two of my students moved from BC to Saskatchewan, mid year. I also began offering online lessons for students who were ill, and could not make it to in person. A few months later, in April, 2020, ALL my students, converted to online when COVID hit.
Q. What compelled you to jump on a new technology during its alpha phase? Learning a new platform while navigating through a pandemic must have been a lot to handle!
A. I was using other platforms, beginning with Zoom… and struggled with the quality of sound. I found that playing with all the settings, was difficult, especially, with trying to direct parents and students on the other side. It was unknown to me, just what they were hearing, and how well they were hearing it. I tried another platform, and though it was better in some ways, it was still difficult to be consistent. I had heard about Musicology when it first came into sight… and continued to follow and wait with anticipation, until I could start to use it! Starting with a brand new alpha product, was exciting, and I even told some students that it was on the way…months before it was available. Learning something new, can be challenging, but I was willing to give it a go, so that the online learning, was the best I could offer to students. The pandemic was hard, and still is, but having something that had the promise of great sound and connection… was something I was looking for.
Q. What have you learned since leaping into the online teaching world? How do you feel it benefits you and your students compared to in-person?
A. I think one of the things I have learned since leaping into online teaching is that we can use all our time together for learning… and not be wasting minutes getting books unpacked, and repacked. Or students having to travel to lessons, dealing with weather and traffic, or even myself, because at that time back in early 2020, i was actually teaching in the music room at the school i taught at. So I too, was carrying supplies and books each day. Convenience for all, including parents being able to simply be set up at home, worked well. Also, the uniqueness of having an App to ‘play’ with, was and still is intriguing, and keeps the attention of my students, both young and old. Yes adults love the emotes too!
Q. I know you teach a lot of very young students. How do you keep them engaged during lessons? What methods do you use?
A. Last year, 98% of my students were solely online. I had one little 5 year old, that would come to my house bi-weekly. I had two 3 year olds! These two were siblings of older students that I had. I used a mix of Wunderkeys and Kiddykeys/Roadtrip, and some of my own creations, to keep their attention. Some also used My First Piano Adventure. The parents of children under 7 were required to be sitting nearby to assist with technical and to assist with students locating certain notes on the keyboard, turning pages, etc. Some really did well with online… and to be honest… some didn’t…. squirming, and wiggly, you know what i mean. They would have their piano books, and I sent home piano boxes for all my students with colourful pencil crayons, erasers, flash cards, dice, etc… For my littlest students, our lessons would be a mix of Movement to music… where they would dance, or move around the room, to finding a rhythm instrument to play and clap. And of course, discovering the piano, and playing. They also had colouring pages. In group sessions we would also bring out play dough and make music symbols with it. Most importantly, I have to be ready to switch it up… when I notice a child is getting squirmy, or losing attention, we change what we are doing. That could be anywhere from 1-5 min! When I began using Musicology in Spring of 2021, it helped those littlest to focus more because of all the fun features. At the time, only ipad users could use it, so for those still on zoom i would share my screen, and give them Emotes for their great work.
Q. Tell us about your journey using Musicology. What were your students reaction? What did their parents think of the platform?
A. In the Spring when it launched for use on iPad, I was part of the testing team. I was able to use it with those that had iPads. I looked forward to the launch of the Chrome Browser version in the summer, and couldn’t wait to have ALL my students connecting with Musicology… no more switching between platforms! The platform is pretty easy to learn, and I am still learning more about it. I could actually HEAR my students complete a scale, and not have it cut out… or a vocal student sing a line, and be able to Hear the whole thing! The students just love it. They could hear me so much better, and I think that it helped with their focus. I would give them an emote for playing well, and then they would announce to their mom in the other room “Mommy, Miss Lynne gave me a Flower emote!” Parents commented on how much clearer the sound was, and video. I have one family who wants to recommend it to their other child’s music teacher who still uses another platform. The parents also say, it is easy to do, even on the first go at it. Simply go to the Link and enter the code. Done! I look forward to the upcoming development of Groups on Musicology! I also want to mention, that working with Rebecca, has been a great experience. She is VERY helpful and makes her best effort to address any issues that may come up. Even when I am in Mid lesson, and I have an urgent question, she has been quick to answer. Thank you Rebecca, for following your dream of creating this wonderful app! I am glad to be part of your journey!
Timed Music Math!
iOS to iOS has a built in timer. Set it to 60 seconds and see how many questions they can complete!
High and Low Sounds
Teacher plays a short or long note on the piano and student draws “coconuts” in the tree!
Wunderkeys has lots of resources that can easily be turned into online games. Here, the birds were covered up and reviled in a memory game!
A student dances to Dance Doggie from Music Play Online!
Stay tuned for the next blog where we send out some helpful keyboard shortcuts for Windows and Apple devices! Musicology is available as a downloadable app for iOS devices or a webapp using the Chrome browser for all other devices. Register today for your 14-day FREE trial! You can cancel anytime and will receive an email reminding you your trial is about to end. Happy teaching!
Teaching resources mentioned in this interview:
WunderKeys is the first music book series in decades to make a real difference in piano education. When it comes to inspiring piano students, WunderKeys is in a class of its own. But we don’t just create for kids! Look inside our books and you’ll discover pedagogically sound approaches, logically sequenced activities, and perfectly paced repertoire that make teaching piano lessons simply wonderful.
Piano Pronto Publishing, founded by Jennifer Eklund in 2008, is a full-scale publishing house offering method books, songbooks, and sheet music for all ages and stages. Learn more about all of our available brands here.
KiddyKeys offers play-based learning, engaging each child in the learning process. Creative play promotes independent thinking, and an environment rich in hands-on teaching tools fosters enthusiastic learning. KiddyKeys is a completely turnkey early childhood music program — we’ve done the prep work for you. With comprehensive, detailed lesson plans and hands-on teaching tools that you’ll love, KiddyKeys is distinguished by its ease of use, whether used in a group classes, private lessons, or in tandem with your favorite piano method.
With students at age six or less, piano teaching becomes an adventure for both the child and the teacher. We’ve set aside our seriousness and inhibitions to join the child’s world in a playful exploration of music and the keyboard. Through imagery, metaphor, and a diverse world of sound, we seek to develop a foundation of aural perception, eye tracking, and physical coordination. There is special opportunity to develop perceptual ability at a young age. Skills unfold while we engage the child’s inherent love of music.
LESSON PLANNING STARTED FOR YOU
Choose from the pre-built lessons, the song list, or create your own from scratch! Musicplay is a menu and includes paths for Orff and Kodaly specialists and general classroom teachers.