As we slowly ease out of lockdown, what does the future look like for singing lessons and teachers?
It certainly has been a challenging time for everyone during lockdown and I'm sure the impact of it will be with us for a long time. As far as singing lessons go, us teachers have been lucky enough to be able to take our work online. But, have students been as keen?
I have found this to be a mixed bag during the pandemic. Some students have fully embraced the concept and have actually decided they would prefer to continue lessons in this way. Other students though are waiting until lockdown ends and would prefer to return to 'in person' lessons. The interesting thing is that a lot of yoga and pilates teachers i know, have been inundated with additional, online students during this time, so why have singing teachers had more of a challenge?
After chatting to students, I realised that some beginners just don't feel comfortable singing at home, where family, room mates, or neighbours may hear them. The difference with yoga and pilates it that you can lock yourself away quietly in a room, take an online lesson and no one else needs to know about it.
The other reason is that there is still a stigma about online singing lessons. A lot of people still believe online lessons don't work and just aren't beneficial. As I mentioned in a previous post, there are pros and cons to both teaching methods but unless you are working at a professional level, online lessons can be fantastic and are certainly a great back up for professionals too.
The other issue that has impacted singing lessons during this time has been financial problems. A lot of students who are professional performers have had all their concerts cancelled.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Some teachers who already teach in schools and colleges have had a lot of students continue with their studies as they don't want to pause their education and tend to be supported financially by family or other supporting bodies. Younger students are often less embarrassed or intimidated as well, so don't have any problems being heard by family.
There have also been a lot of people who have used lockdown as an opportunity to learn something new. Quite a few of my new students have always wanted to learn to sing but just never had the time, due to work. Of course, when their work returns to normal, some may have to put lessons on hold.
The bottom line is that due to the nature of singing, face-to-face lessons are going to be a challenge as long as we are living with any hint of a pandemic. You can't really sing properly through a mask and even if distancing rules are in place, singing is all about projection, which is no good for germ spreading!
In these uncertain times, I think that it is important for all of us to embrace online education. It doesn't need to be our only method as things move forward but i encourage everyone to give it a go as it enables us teachers to keep on doing what we do best, and students to continue their vocal development and enjoyment, what ever the future may bring!
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