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COVID-19 Update

Wow. Let’s take a moment to recapture what we’ve all been through in the past 5 months. For me here at Sugar Beat, it’s been a busy time and a worrisome one to say the least. Orff classes had to be cancelled mid-session; families had to be refunded. I had just started to reconnect with my past, working with toddlers and preschoolers at a couple of wonderful local daycare centers when they shut down. And then there’s my private piano studio.

Remote Piano Lessons

Thanks to the early encouragement of a few students and their families, we were soon up and running with Zoom. Anyone who knows me will say that I am somewhat technically challenged, if not a straight up technophobe. It took a week to learn the ropes and figure out what would work best, but now it’s become routine. I was able to embrace the challenge and continue to teach everyone who was willing to take that step into a brand new virtual learning scenario with me.

In mid-spring, I had the opportunity to start beginner piano lessons with a new student. She has already passed her first book and is moving along very well, despite never stepping foot into my home! Technology has really become my friend in these times, and I’ve shared many heartwarming moments over my computer with many students these past months. It’s been wonderful to keep going, to keep learning and honing those skills, despite the obstacles. As my students continue to learn and pass their pieces and move into new grades, it all feels like a huge win!

Another win that I must acknowledge happened this spring and summer. My oldest daughters were scheduled to take their piano exams when the pandemic broke. The Royal Conservatory took things virtual, and both girls were still able to have their exams. Brenna blew the adjudicator away on Zoom, while Maya completed her grade 10 through a YouTube submission of her pieces performed back to back in a single take along with a Zoom component for her technique, sight reading, and ear training. I am very proud to say that both girls earned first class honours with distinction graduating from grade 8 and 10 respectively. (You can hear Maya’s piece submission here.)

In-Person Piano Lessons

I will once again begin teaching from my home in September to a small group of students for whom Zoom was not a pleasing option. Piano lessons will resume on Zoom for those students who prefer to continue that way. If you are looking for a very experienced teacher for you or your child, you may choose either Zoom or in person. I am currently accepting new students. Please contact me to discuss the options and other details.

Piano Orff Classes

Normally at this time I would be finalizing my Saturday Orff classes for September, planning out a new session of music to learn with my enthusiastic group of children, ages 4-14, with some new faces and some old familiar ones. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to think of a satisfactory way to adapt remote learning to Orff. I dearly miss my Orff classes, especially the fantastic groups I had the privilege to work with over the past year. (Check out our last open class here.)

With the current situation, I do not yet feel comfortable to bring children together in groups into a church where so many others gather for multiple reasons. As a result, I’ve decided not to run my Orff program this September, but I remain very optimistic that we can return to the classes in the new year if the numbers of infected continue to move in the right direction. Please visit the website for updates in January.

Good luck to all of you returning to work and school. Please keep those masks handy, and stay safe!

Sugar Beat Music for Children