It has been so wonderful to welcome students back into the Music Department. The building which has been effectively silent for months is at least starting to resonate with the sound of guitars, mandolins, pianos, percussion and strings. Alas, there is still no singing, or large band and orchestral ensembles.
Last week new advice from authorities allowed us to conduct small groups of woodwind and brass classes in outside spaces, and so that is what is happening. With the weather improving it has been delightful to see small groups of woodwind and brass players working so productively in various spaces around the building. For the next few weeks it is clear that we will be dealing with a wide variety of scenarios – some online instrumental lessons, some normal face-to-face lessons, some small groups in COVID-safe spaces around the school and some clever use of technology to create virtual ensembles. A great example is the latest ‘release’ from Vivaldi strings.
Two things are quite noteworthy about all of this.
The first is that despite the frequently changing circumstances confronting both staff and students, there is a remarkable amount of learning continuing in our community. I would strongly refute some of the claims in the media that students have suffered months of ‘lost learning’ – our young musicians as a cohort have continued to make significant progress in their skills.
The second thing is the astonishingly cheerful approach from our students. They face the almost weekly changes in circumstances with a wonderfully positive attitude which is testament to their resilience.
Last week we celebrated World Teacher Day. I would like to publicly acknowledge the huge effort made by the Carey Music staff to adapt so rapidly, cheerfully and successfully to the changing circumstances. Many instrumental staff are currently working mixed loads of onsite and online teaching with many required to teach after hours. They deserve our sincere thanks.
Head of Music