To our Wonderful Academy Families,
As we all start our much-needed March Break, I can imagine the past few days have made it far from restful. I am pretty sure I haven’t slept since Wednesday. As you may know, Dr. David Colby, CK’s Chief Medical Officer, has declared a state of emergency for Chatham-Kent in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and has ordered the cancellation of all camps, programs and organized youth activities. While a difficult decision, it is an important step to ensuring the overall health of our community.
It is with that advice, that we have come to the difficult decision to stop all in-person lessons and classes at the Music Academy starting Monday March 23rd. Know that while this decision was not an easy one to make, we have been working diligently to move the Academy online.
In times of uncertainty, the power of music can do magical things. We want to make sure we do our part to keep the magic alive.
Starting the week of March 23, we will be launching a comprehensive online learning community for all the students at Chatham Music Academy. We are working right now at testing and setting up “Zoom” for private lessons that will be easy to use and simple to set up. Zoom is the leader in modern video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing. There will be more information given on this next week as we solidify how to implement it. The students have put in a lot of work this year and we do not want it to be for nothing.
This is not the only thing we have been working on. We don’t just want to keep lessons going, we want to take them to the next level. Technology has always been an interest of mine and there are a lot of innovative things out there for music teaching. The next thing we are working on launching for the Academy is Tonara. We all know that the more students’ practice, the better they play and the longer they stick with it to feel that incredible joy of creating music. Finding the motivation to sit down and practice music can be tedious and tiresome at times for students, that’s why we’ve subscribed to Tonara to make practicing more engaging, interactive and also fun.
Tonara has developed a comprehensive Assignment module enabling teachers to send their students practice assignments with different types of attachments (notes, recording, pieces, etc), directions and guidance on how they should practice. Moreover, teachers are able to tailor each assignment to fit the needs of each student. Tonara teachers report an increase of over 68% in average practice time since they have started using Tonara. Tonara is available on both Apple and Android devices, and we will be sending out individual login information as we get it all set up.
We are also looking at compiling a list of the best music apps for students to assist them in all their “free time.” Over the past few years, some great apps have come out in the form of games, instructional, music, etc. We also will be posting interactive videos on our Facebook and Instagram pages to engage the students (and parents) as well.
In a very uncertain time, we want to ensure our students will still have a sense of normalcy and purpose. I will be working with all of our instructors over the break to prepare the online instruction and will get the information out to you later in the week about how to access the content.
I would like to remind our Academy families:
Your family has invested time and money into these lessons/classes, so please do not throw that away due to this event. We have a plan to offer a rich, robust online learning system, and then get back to work at the studio as soon as possible.
More than ever our kids will need some mental stimulation and sense of purpose and normalcy. Having our kids stick to their routine (even if their ‘classroom’ is now their home) helps reduce anxiety in our kids.
This may be a blessing in disguise as it has forced us to implement some of the projects we have been working on in the back burner. Even once we are back at the Academy, tools such as Tonara and Zoom will be beneficial in the long run
Our small business needs your support during this trying time if we are going to survive and continue to be a fixture in this community once this passes. We have overhead expenses that have to be paid, and our incredible, dedicated teachers sincerely need to continue working for their livelihood. Our community has never faced something quite like this, and it’s my hope that through this we are opening new doors and providing new ways to offer on-demand to our students. We are going to make it through this together!
Answers to some questions you may have:
How will the online lessons work?
Private music lessons will continue through Zoom. We believe this is the easiest way to continue them that will have the best results. We will provide more information on this later in the week.
What about MYC Classes?
The hope is that MYC will also be able to be transferred online. Another option is that we extend the semester an extra few weeks to make up the missed classes.
What about the Winter Recital and end-of-year recitals?
With all that is going on, it is best that we cancel our Winter Recitals scheduled on March 29th, Don’t think though that all the students hard work will be done in vain. We will be working to find a way to upload individual performances that we can share on our Facebook and Instagram pages. What a great way to show off our students to a wider audience!
Our end-of-year recital in June is still too far out to worry about. We will keep you posted if anything changes but as of right now it will still be going.
I would like to thank all of our teachers who have been a huge support during this transition and continue to be positive and receptive to what is coming. I would also like to give a big thank you to my wife Ashley, who has been my rock in trying to keep me sane. I look forward to communicating with you again as we begin our new adventure in online learning. I will be in touch with each one of our families this week but do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns.
Devon Hansen, Owner
Chatham Music Academy