Music education certainly looks different this year as students and educators prepare for the start of a new semester. While each program has different rules and guidelines governing music education during this time, there are a few ways you can maximize your online experience as a music student or educator:
- Organize your work area. Before the semester starts, take a few hours to declutter and clean your work space. Tidy up loose papers at your desk, corral your cables and wires, find a comfortable chair, make sure you have good lighting, hang up photos or artwork, and gather all the supplies you’ll need so everything is in one place.
- Consider changing your practice space. If your work space and practice area are in two separate places, you might spend a lot of time going back and forth for music, equipment, and other supplies you need during online lessons. Consider consolidating your work space and practice area so everything you need is in the same space.
- Prioritize regular breaks. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has gotten so involved in a project that several hours had passed without a single break! Set a timer for every hour so you can stand up, stretch, and look at something besides a screen for a few minutes.
- Schedule time to catch up with friends. One of the worst parts about online learning is not being able to hang out with your friends IRL after class. Keep in touch with your friends and make it a priority to schedule regular virtual hang-outs.
- Stick to a regular schedule. If you don’t create boundaries between school, assignments, and everything else, it can be very easy to live in front of a screen. Create firm boundaries, such as not checking your email after a certain time or hopping on social media as soon as you wake up.
- Disconnect from social media. Avoid the siren call of social media during the school day so you’re more productive during working hours. If you’re tempted to scroll through social media every time you use your phone, delete or disable the apps.
- Turn the negatives into positives. I get it – online music education is definitely not the same as it is IRL. Instead of belaboring all the reasons why online learning is inferior, try to see this as an opportunity to explore skills which will help your music career.
- Treat yourself with small luxuries throughout the day. When you’re feeling unmotivated, try to sprinkle in some small luxuries to brighten your day. I love listening to podcasts while I get ready, and there’s something comforting about working while drinking a cup of Earl Grey tea. These might not seem like much, but sometimes it’s the little things which add up to create big payoffs.
Good luck to all of the music students and educators out there! What have you done to maximize your online learning experience?