But then, what does a ‘typical day’ in 2020 even look like? I woke early this Monday morning from a banging headache and like every day now, began by spending a good portion of the day cleaning the music rooms. Vacuuming, anti-bacterial spraying, floor cleaning, surface scrubbing, door handle cleaning, doormat disinfecting etc etc.
Following this, I spent an hour wrestling every angle between with tripod stand and deliberating over lighting and shadows to try and ensure I could take a video recording of a drum student within one camera lens during his lesson later today. This was fussier than it sounds since foot pedals, cymbals and drums all needed to be clearly visible in the screen. Then there was the audio mix. The camera could neither be too close to the backing music nor too close to the kit itself, maintaining a suitable balance between audio and visual. (I am not a techie and I will not pretend to be!) Please do comment on any professional tips you may be willing to share with me to make this aspect of my life less ‘sighing’ induced!
Once I was satisfied with lighting, audio levels, video function, drums set-up and camera settings, I marked sticky notes on the floor for the tripod for later.
I then moved the tripod to the piano room for a video recording for a remembrance service. After recording and uploading the video, I grabbed a snack and moved the tripod back to the drum room. Drum student promptly arrived and after a quick run-through of today’s material, I started recording exam repertoire for his self-assessment prior to next week’s exam. The half hour flew and before I knew it, was chatting to parent of student and emailing follow-up lesson suggestions.
More cleaning of the drum room and piano room before next student- a piano beginner. I was greeted with a friendly chat on how his school day went as we hand-sanitised and sat at our respective keys (over 2 metres apart). I find I tend to crease my eyes and raise my cheeks more exaggeratedly now to try and assure students I am smiling underneath whatever polka dot or music notes mask I attire.
A little Christmas music during the piano lesson gave ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ a new connotation as I speculated if a ‘non-pandemic Christmas’ would be possible this year despite our enthusiastic rhythms and jingly sleigh bell sounds? I sincerely hope so.
Another lesson finished and parent and student happy with what we were planning for the week ahead. Next cleaning session before another student and a quick blast of heat (after the cold air from the open window) now that these evenings are quite chilly.
I was so glad my husband told me he was cooking our dinner tonight when he returned from work at the hospital, although I knew he had a busy day himself! After some much-needed nourishment, I set up for my next piano student (a primary school teacher who is embracing her piano playing with full gusto after her busy days in the classroom).
Another cleaning session, a FURTHER update email to parents and students regarding the government advices and my plans for this ‘current phase’ as I prepare zoom resources and slides to anticipate making online learning as enthusiastic as I can for the third time this year.
I plan to write about online teaching specifically in a further article so I will leave those insights for that one!
I was hoping to have an early sleep just as our neighbours’ smoke alarm battery died (again) and despite reaching for earplugs and tucking my head between pillows, I sit here and type instead, accepting the fact that this is not a ‘typical day’ and nor can it be in a very atypical year.
Wishing every reader good health and stable work in ‘this climate’ at the risk of sounding like a weather reporter.