Responding to Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic is, to say the least, both concerning and confusing. It is also causing much stress and anxiety.
As humans we are essentially social creatures. We enjoy being together. Playing music is fundamentally a communal activity. Learning and playing a musical instrument are ways of reducing anxiety, maintaining some form of social contact and keeping our sanity.
With Coronavirus we are concerned for ourselves and the wellbeing of our loved ones and that we don't infect them. They are most important to us and we want to keep them safe especially if they are frail or have underlying conditions. We should all therefore try to stay in accordance with the advice outlined by HM.GOV (Monday 16th March). The implementaion of the procedures indicated below will vary according to the levels of lockdown we are experiencing. At times visits may be possible. At other times only online lessons will be possible.
With this in mind, let's remember that violin tuition is a one-to-one activity, not one-to-many so we can easily practise social distancing unless at times this is prohibited. The space in which the tuition takes place can be a highly managed safe place. We all have to think of our own circumstances and make individual choices. These notes are here to help you make these decisions and they cover my interpretation of the way forward and include the implementation of:
As for me personally, as you will know, I take music making very seriously. It is a social activity, something which is part of the very nature of what it is to be human. For a while Coronavirus will change things but, my tuition and everything else I do creatively and musically will remain up and running. Like all other businesses I continue unless the situation changes drastically.
I will remain open for everyone that feels they can attend lessons
and have set up the online service for when perhaps they can't.
In order to protect you and your loved ones we have set up a hygiene boundary here when you arrive and when you leave, so upon arrival and departure do take advantage of the hand washing facilities close by the entrance.
Equally for professional reasons I have always operated a minimum touch approach. This has now been extended to a 'no touch' policy to reduce the risk of passive infection.
Hand sanitation is also available in the lesson as it is possible that I may have to touch a student's violin.
Where a home visit is made hand-sanitiser is employed upon arrival and if necessary during the lesson.
If I contract the illness then students will be notified immediately. Violin lessons will cease from that moment. I will then self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days until the risks of cross-infection have passed.
Currently we are required to act responsibly and maintain a distance between ourselves. In a way, social distancing is normal in violin lessons. In chamber music we commonly use separate music stands with a reasonable distance between us to allow for the movement of the bow. This can easily be extended to 2 metres. in the lessons it is common to use two stands; one for the student and one for the teacher. What this means is that whether at my home or yours we can easily manage social distancing. In addition handshakes and hugs can be replaced by the Japanese Nod or the Yoga Namaste.
For those who are 69 or under at present small groups (less than 10 is suggested) may continue always allowing for those who have to self-isolate. However you must take into consideration your own personal circumstances and advise me as to your situation asap.
If you are 70 or over, are pregnant or have an underlying condition you will have to self-isolate. Face-to-face lessons will have to be put on-hold for the time being which means that we switch to distance learning.
REMOTE LEARNING & SELF-ISOLATION
If you have to self-isolate my task is to help you keep your practice going.
The idea will be to ensure you have a focus for your practice, to help you create short videos or mp3s for me to review, and then discuss your practice via a video call at your usual lesson time. Please be aware that the APPS I will use are Skype (andrew.hodges1) and Whatsapp not Facetime (no iPhone, sorry).
I want to use all means at my disposal to help you maintain your musical development through this extended period of limited contact and isolation. For some it will be lessons as usual - no change. For others I will be offering home visits for those who can no longer come to my home and who feel safe enough to allow me to visit them.
You need to think about your technology. With your phones you can send me video of sections of the pieces you are practising for me to review. If you wish you can request sections of music with which you are having difficulty for me to record and send to you. If you need accompaniments to practice, there are many already available and I am happy to create more as needed.
I will for most be offering Skype or Whatsapp lessons on a regular basis so that we can go over what you've been practising.
This is all dependent on the technology at the student's own home. At this moment check:
Your laptops and that the cameras and mikes are working. Big screens are better.
Your Skype login details. if you need to set up Skype and Whatsapp accounts now is the time. Then let me have the details.
Your bluetooth speakers. Are they working/connecting? If not, as a good alternative check your ear buds or headsets. If you don't have these, now may be the time to invest in a set.
If you have a landline let me have the number. A landline provides the best quality sound.
If you can get these sorted now we can be ready to start using them as soon as we need to.
Small music groups - String Quartets & Ensembles - social distancing rules should make these possible.
Interesting times ahead. Let's stay positive and play music as much as we are able.