Once upon a time…music classes used to be offline. Yes, it does sound like the beginning of a fairy tale or science fiction piece! It has been a different couple of years for the music education industry – to put it mildly. But music academies and educators have to be commended for having made the transition to online music classes so seemingly seamless. It has not altogether been without hiccoughs but online classes have been a huge hit with students of all age groups.
But, is it finally time to shift to in-person music classes and make the ‘science fiction story’ a fact? Perhaps, in the first year of online classes, the answer was clearer. Now, some weighing of the pros and cons is necessary. Let’s see what each type of class offers and whether a transition to the physical classroom is in the offing. Is it more effective? Or have online classes been just as good as offline ones with some extra benefits to boot? Let’s take a look.
Why online music classes?
When the pandemic hit, music classes, like every other class, had to find a way to be relevant in a virtual space. It required educators to prepare for the challenges of online classes: holding a child’s attention, catching errors in playing and singing, keeping students motivated to stay involved with music, all while your internet connection played hide-and-seek and hookie, in turns, at best.
But once the routine was set, online classes became the norm and now, it is difficult to remember a time when classes were not online!
Why are parents, children and students of all age groups preferring online music classes? This is why.
1. You can learn at your own pace
There are recorded lessons and online tutorials as well as live online music classes that ensure that you get to learn fast or slow as it suits you – move to the next lesson when you are ready, practise the same one for as long as you like. The additional benefit with the recorded lesson is that you can go back and refer to it even after class hours.
2. Enjoy a flexible schedule
No need to worry about keeping times that don’t suit you, trying to squeeze ten hours’ worth of work into eight, and rushing for the only slot for music class that matches your schedule. As educators take classes from the comfort of their own homes for the most part, there is more scope for increased time slots for students. This offers flexibility to working employees as well as school-going kids. This further enables classes to be continuous and sustainable for students.
3. Choose from a wider array of educators
With online classes, more musicians and performers have been able to schedule music classes. So, students now have the benefit of learning from masters and performers who can share their wealth of musical experience. This is a unique benefit that has opened up the borders of countries to students. So, you have students from New York who learn from guitar educators in India. And vice versa. The world is your classroom and you can now learn from any music educator from anywhere in the world. Such an exciting prospect for learning!
4. Bond with family group classes
Did you always want to learn the piano with your son or daughter, or jam with your family? Online classes have ensured that the classroom has materialised in your home. Now, you can play with your mom, dad, sister, and grandma, enjoying a harmonious family bonding time.
5. Age, gender no bar
In an online class, you are not held back by thoughts of age or gender of your fellow students. Your attention is solely on the educator so your learning is that much more focussed. These differentiations might hinder the progress of some introverted or shy students in an offline music class.
6. Save all round with online music lessons
- Imagine you don’t have to deal with traffic jams – save time
- There is no need to rush post school – save your energy and feel less anxious
- You can simply switch windows and jump from one class to another without having to get ready in advance – convenience at your fingertips
- Online music classes tend to be cheaper as there is no infrastructure requirements such as a classroom, instruments, rent, electricity and so on to worry about
- You don’t have to worry about forgetting your notes, instrument, or textbook. Everything is a step or room away!
Online classes have been sailing along smoothly so far. Most importantly, even if those scattered and sudden spurts of cases come up, your music classes will continue without breaks.
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Challenges of online classes
The main issue with online classes tends to be patchy internet connectivity which can be a distracting factor during classes. This also affects the educator’s ability to effectively guide students. Also, some students, especially young learners, learn better in a physical classroom. The physical vibes and atmosphere of an in-persons class is definitely inspiring and stimulating.
So, is it time to start offline music classes now that it seems that the pandemic is on the retreat? That’s how it used to take place before, right?
Why offline classes?
If you have forgotten how great offline music classes (or offline classes in general) were, we don’t blame you. Online music classes have become a very good substitute with the classroom being almost completely replicated virtually. But, let’s time travel to the benefits of in-person music classes.
1. Offline music lessons promote group interactions
Isn’t it wonderful to look around and see other people there? People with similar interests, similar doubts, similar inspirations. And you can jam with them, sing together, work on group projects more effectively, and simply learn from watching and listening to each other. Some indispensable life skills such as interpersonal skills are developed. That’s how it should be, that’s how it was. And that’s how it can be again.
2. Enjoy increased connection and learning
It is much easier to coordinate your music when you don’t have to agonise over internet lags and lost connections. Plus, it is much easier to read the body language and work off the energy of your fellow musicians and singers in person. Not to mention your educator and you can see eye-to-eye (literally!) and communicate with each other with a deeper connection.
3. Learn faster as your mistakes are more easily caught
As you sit right in front of your educator, it is much easier for your teacher to correct errors of posture, understanding, playing, and singing. The sort of individualised attention you receive cannot be fully substituted in an online mode. There are always those small tweaks that can add a zing to your voice and sense of sound, which were possible in online classes.
4. Competition & performances promote learning
When you see students around you playing well, you feel a sense of competition that makes you strive to practise and perform harder yourself. Also, it is when you perform in front of a live audience that you will experience nerves and stage fright. You will also understand the meaning of stage presence and be aware of your posture, movements, as you get instant and uncensored responses to your performance. All of this promotes better learning.
5. Focussed learning is possible
Educators can hold the attention of students more easily with in-person music lessons as the classroom atmosphere is conducive for learning. There are no distractions that you have no control of in online music classes; you can easily track what your students are concentrating on.
6. Instruments and books are easily available
Students have ready and easy access to textbooks, instruments, and any other learning resource that the educator may have. This enables them to refer to books that they may not need to immediately purchase.
Read this account of a student’s feelings about returning to offline music classes.
Challenges of offline classes
No one looks forward to the traffic and associated anxiety in reaching a class on time. Also, in-person classes limit the variety of students and educators that can attend a class to a specific geography. Most importantly, since the situation is unpredictable, there is the risk of discontinuity in offline music classes again.
So, what form of classroom is appealing to you or your child? Online or in-person? SaPa has a mix of online and offline live music classes in a variety of disciplines – vocals – Carnatic, Hindustani, and Western, piano, Carnatic and Western violin, guitar, konnakol, drums, flute to name just a few. Come, explore the beautiful journey towards music and melody with SaPa.
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Students can learn well through offline classes because the teacher can give personal attention to the student and the student can clear their doubts well in offline classes