Re-Opening CBY Music FAQs
When will you be returning to in-person lessons?
ALL lessons will continue ONLINE throughout September as we monitor the impact of school re-openings on Covid-19 case numbers in our area.
If numbers stay low, we may be in a position to reopen the physical studio at an appropriate point in October.
We will be opening to instrumentalists first, followed by singers. Please see the next question for more information.
What protocols will you be putting in place when you open the studio again?
The Covid-19 situation and protocols are constantly changing. As it stands, we are preparing to include the following procedures in our re-opening plan:
⁃ A brief online pre-screening form that must be completed by the parent prior to each lesson in order for the student to be admitted.
⁃ A one-time signed waiver prior to your student's return to in-person lessons.
⁃ Hand sanitizing upon arrival.
⁃ Physical distancing to the capacity of our studio space (approx 10 feet).
⁃ A floor-to-ceiling impermeable barrier separating student from teacher.
⁃ Masks required for students and teacher.
It IS possible to sing in a mask (we have done it!). In fact, it gives more of a resonance chamber. Special structured masks will be provided to singers for a nominal fee (approx $10) to cover cost. If safely stored in between lessons, these masks can be used multiple times.
⁃ No waiting area. Students will wait in the parking lot until we text them to come in, at which point they can be driven to the door for drop-off. Pick-up will be managed the same way. They will enter directly into the studio through the back door of our house.
⁃ Parents who wish to be with their student during the lesson will sit on the outdoor porch. In our new space, the porch and student space share a window which will be open, allowing the parent to still observe and hear the entire lesson. No person other than the student will be allowed into the indoor studio space.
⁃ Open windows in the studio, and two air purifiers running in the studio space.
⁃ Students must bring their own materials including writing utensils and all of their books etc.
⁃ We ask that the washroom only be accessed on an emergency basis as it involves moving through the living areas of the house.
⁃ Five minutes at the end of each lesson will be reserved for disinfecting. The lesson fee will not change, as this is time we must continue to dedicate to supporting your student’s experience (and we are also taking on the cost of additional cleaning/ protective supplies).
⁃ Students unable to comply with the above will be asked to return to online lessons.
How will the studio schedule change?
We will be building the schedule to allow for adequate air cleaning time between students. As a result, we will be alternating online and in-person lesson slots. This means THE NUMBER OF IN-PERSON LESSONS WILL BE CAPPED. Priority will be given to instrumental students, and students who absolutely can not continue lessons on Zoom (this will be collaboratively determined between parent, student, and teacher). A reminder that all students returning for in-person lessons must be able to adhere to our safety protocols. Online lessons remain an option for those who can't.
Why are you staying closed when some other studios are opening?
You will see a variety of different approaches to re-openings in the music community. Our procedures have been developed based on government requirements, guidance from singing-specific studies and experts, and the advice of our professional music teaching associations. At present, we believe the stress and limitations inherent in these numerous safety protocols will make in-person lessons much less enjoyable, and less productive, than online lessons.
Musicians are often overlooked at the government level, and as such, fully comprehensive legal guidelines have not been given to music teachers. We are all required by our various levels of government to use masks, physical distancing, and an impermeable barrier in our studios (the parameters of these barriers were not given).
However, studies on aerosols have shown that the government's protocols are insufficient to protect asymptomatic Covid-positive singing students and teachers from spreading the virus. As such, additional protocols such as the ones we have outlined above have been encouraged by music-specific organizations.
There will be differences amongst studios in compliance with/ interpretation of both the government-mandated required protocols and the protocols suggested by our professional organizations. These differences may be based on the personal risk tolerance of teachers/studio owners, the priorities or beliefs of studio owners, or even access to information from our professional orgs (not all local music studios are members of ORMTA and/or NATS). We personally believe that our delayed physical re-opening, phased re-entry approach, and comprehensive safety protocols will ensure the safest experience for our students, their families, and their classmates.
A return to in-person lessons may have to abruptly switch back to online lessons should case numbers significantly rise, or either party be required to quarantine based on contact with an infected person. Staying online will also allow for the most consistent experience possible.
The overarching advice from our professional organizations is that staying online should be considered the preferred method of lesson delivery at the present time, including in our local area. This is further reflected in the RCM's continuation of virtual exams, as well as local music festivals taking place online in the fall. Several local music teachers, including leaders in our regional music community, have made the decision to stay fully online through to 2021.
Please understand that while numbers in our area are currently low, school re-openings may have a significant impact on case numbers in any region.
What are the benefits of online learning?
We have spent the last 5 months teaching exclusively online. In that time, we have developed best practices that have made online lessons successful. Here are the continuing benefits:
⁃ Saves commute time/ stress.
⁃ Many students feel more comfortable in their own spaces.
⁃ Students will always have their materials with them. They can’t forget them at home!
⁃ Works better with busy family schedules.
⁃ Ability to bring in guest artists from across Canada and internationally.
- Ability to take lessons from any location.
⁃ Safety for all involved.
Musical Technique/ Learning Strategies
⁃ Improved ear training as singers can’t rely as much on the piano. The results across our student population have been fantastic!
⁃ Learning how to practice IN your practicing environment. This has been invaluable in supporting good habits for singers and instrumentalists.
⁃ Improved independent note reading skills/ less reliance on the direct support of the teacher. Overwhelmingly, students are trusting themselves more.
⁃ Improved listening skills.
⁃ Ability for the teacher to get a “zoomed in” view of the singer/ instrumentalists to diagnose and fix technical issues, closer than is safe for in-person lessons.
- No need to manage government-mandated protocols such as mask-wearing which will allow for a more comfortable experience.
⁃ Ability to maximize a variety of technology to support 21st century music learning.
⁃ Occasional use of pre-recorded student singing to save time in the lesson, lesson time used for technique review. Encourages independent learning and focused practice. “Flipped classroom” strategy.
⁃ Ability to easily record lessons for future review.
⁃ Ability to see oneself and the teacher simutaneously on the screen and use that for concept reinforcement as appropriate.
⁃ Use of the online Student Portal for educational resources and music tracks.
We are discovering new benefits every week as we continue to "make lemonade" out of these Covid lemons with your students! You may have also noticed benefits not listed here. While we do miss the in-person lesson experience dearly, we are grateful for these unexpected "pros" in a world presently full of "cons".
Can I just resume lessons when you’re back in person?
That is up to you. Please bear in mind that we have a waiting list at CBY Music. Should you choose to wait to resume lessons, you will be added to this list in chronological order and a spot will only be available once the students ahead of you on the list have been accomodated. We cannot guarantee a spot will be available when you are ready to return. We are not in a position to reserve spots for students who choose to delay their start date.
We strongly suggest you continue online and connect with us to address any concerns you may have about online lessons. We can troubleshoot together to make the (hopefully very temporary) online experience as positive as possible for your student. This will also allow you to secure a lesson time that works best for your family.
Why are singers being delayed longer than instrumentalists?
Simply put, singing, due to the spread of aerosols and droplets it involves, is one of the highest-risk activities one can engage in during a respiratory pandemic.
While we do hope to re-open in October, we STRONGLY encourage voice students to consider remaining online for our September- December schedule.
In our community, several teachers and festivals are choosing to remain online exclusively. Many universities and colleges are also keeping singing (and woodwind/brass) lessons online exclusively, and the majority of the rest continue to provide a preferred online option.
We strongly believe that Zoom lessons will continue to be more effective than in-person lessons which require masking, a physical barrier, and other protocols that students may find stressful or prohibitive to free, relaxed singing.
We have known for some time now that singing will be the last activity to return to “normal”. We appreciate your patience and your commitment to keeping all of us safe!
For those who are interested in learning more about why singing teachers and singers should be particularly cautious right now, please see the following performing arts-focused study and singing-focused webinar from experts in vocal science:
University of Colorado Performing Arts Aerosol Study preliminary results:
STAY TUNED. Send us a message and we will send you the link as soon as we receive it. It was supposed to be released today (Aug 6) but science takes time...
National Association of Teachers of Singing webinar
"A Conversation: What Do Science and Data Say About the Near Term Future of Singing":