Within the first millisecond of trying to use any meeting platform to have a gaggle of clarinets play at the same time, it becomes painfully obvious that simple pre-pandemic activity is virtually (no pun intended!) impossible. Though the latency issues that make this problematic are being tackled by many companies, practically, it seems a ways off for most of us. Though having one student play at a time is okay, it becomes difficult to keep the others – even if we have each student play for a very short time – engaged. Try keeping all the students muted while they play together with you either conducting, or them playing to an audio recording or click track. Think about it, so much of what we need to assess can be done with our eyes. Things like hand position, embouchure, fingerings, slide position, posture, breathing, and so much more can be assessed even in silence and even with the players not in sync. In many ways, I think “looking” is our best ally when teaching remotely.
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
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