October 28th, 2020

COVID-19 can’t stop sound of music


By Jensen, Randy on April 6, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

The University of Lethbridge Conservatory of Music is helping to provide some normality during this time of isolation by quickly adapting its one-on-one music lessons to an online format.

Since the closure of Casa, more than 700 students have transitioned to online classes to be able to keep music in their lives while at home.

“We wanted our instructors to be able to continue doing what they love, and have some financial stability during these uncertain times,” says Breeanne Fuller, director of uLethbridge Conservatory. “We were not sure how receptive our students would be, but the support from our private students and their families has been incredible.”

Although many instructors agree that in-person lessons are ideal for proper lessons, the new online interim arrangement has been a success so far.

“I, of course, prefer the weekly in-person interactions with my students, but for now, these online lessons are a great substitute,” says Colleen Klassen, piano instructor. “They keep our students progressing and moving forward, and they provide consistency in our young students’ lives, when everything else around them has changed.”

Klassen teaches about 35 students a week at the Conservatory, and quickly adapted to online teaching using the Zoom platform. As music can be a source of comfort, it didn’t take long to get conservatory instructors and their students up to speed on virtual lessons.

“I was amazed at how quickly the instructors researched online teaching and developed a plan to implement it,” says Fuller. “Not only did they figure out the best way to schedule lessons, but also the best way to interact, share lesson plans, send sheet music and even record accompaniments.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, musicians and educators are coming together from around the world and forming alliances to assist each other in making the transition. Fuller says music and all creative and fine arts help play a role in comforting, healing and bringing peace during times of crisis.

“It has been incredible to see the resiliency and positivity in our instructors locally, but also the sense of community among music teachers on a much larger scale,” says Fuller. “Providing over 700 students the ability to continue their love of music brings a new sense of joy to the students and the instructors, although we all look forward to seeing each other in person again soon.”

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