Thomas Kerans, 6th grader in the Rockport Middle School orchestra, gets some well-deserved creative-time and stress relief from his weekly virtual cello lessons with teacher Ben Swartz.

by Josue Gonzalez, Director of Education & Outreach

The past few weeks have displayed an incredible resilience and a renewed passion for education and community programming in the arts nationwide. There are countless examples of musicians, artists, ensembles and non-profits as well as school systems that have had to adapt to our current circumstances reinventing traditions on the fly with the help of technology. While schools have obligated teachers to set up regular systems of communications, activities, projects etc., arts teachers have also had to follow suit in adapting as best possible to these times.

Current circumstances are allowing teachers to emphasize the soft skills within the arts, skills that are separate from just how well you technically play your instrument. Researching and assigning recordings of past and present artists and learning about historical and cultural contexts are just a couple of examples of the new angles of emphasis for music educators. These are the intangible elements of great artistry that are often missed and de-emphasized during the school year due to scheduling constraints and pressures to deliver public performances. In short, a little less technical practice and a little more listening, analyzing, and reflecting.

Technology advances music education in the time of Covid-19.

A silver lining that I hope comes out of this crisis is the acceleration of adopting technological tools that push innovation in arts education. Hopefully this experience will move traditional paradigms of arts education from being reactive to proactive, rather than relying on the same old 20th-century traditions as solutions for a 21st-century landscape.

Top Photo: Josiah and Loretta Blagg at home doing online classes.