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  • Writer's pictureNic Chaffee

Lessons During COVID-19

To all students and parents,

Even just a week ago, I never imagined I’d be sending an email like this one. In the last few days, all of our lives have been completely turned upside down. So, I feel that it is important to reach out to you today to discuss our plans for trumpet lessons in the coming weeks.

First of all, I feel it’s important to not panic in times like these, but to take the warnings and guidelines set forth by medical professionals seriously. I place your health and safety, as well as the greater good of our community, as my top priority. “Social distancing” is the keyto keeping our community healthy, and I plan to do my part.

That being said, you now have an ample amount of free time at home. As for myself, I’m already sick and tired of refreshing my social media feeds, and am hungry for some meaningful work to do! I sincerely hope you’ll fill your extra free time this month with some extra practice time on your trumpet. You’d be amazed at how quickly you can improve with just a little more dedicated practice time each day! As for now, our recital is still scheduled for June. Hopefully, by June the situation in the world will allow us to proceed with that, and I think we should all keep practicing like we expect to be performing again soon.

As far as lessons go, in order to support social distancing recommendations, we will temporarily move all lessons to an online format. While we may be in the “young and healthy” category, it’s still possible for us to spread the virus to more high-risk individuals in our families. I’d hate for there to be any chance of my studio getting anybody sick, so this is the smart option for now.

What this means is we will have lessons via Skype or FaceTime. I’m fine with whichever is easiest for you, however I would suggest using Skype, since it’s free as long as you’re calling “Skype to Skype,” and supports Skype integration. Please setup your Skype or FaceTime account now, and let me know which method of interaction you’d prefer prior to your scheduled lesson this week. For now, we’ll be sticking with our regularly scheduled times for lessons. However, since the school day is no longer a conflict, I’m sure we may wind up moving some lessons earlier in the days for students who wish to.

If you don’t think that an online lesson is going to work for you, I’d encourage you to at least give it a try this week. I have been testing systems, and it actually seems pretty cool. I know many teachers who only offer Skype lessons and have found it to be quite wonderful. I am going to work hard to make these online lessons as engaging as a face-to-face lesson would normally be.

Additionally, I’ve even received some inquiries from parents wondering if extra lessons might be available now. To these inquiries, I say “yes!” I’m more than happy to make myself available for extra appointments with you over these next few weeks. I can offer additional full-length lessons, or a quick 15-20 minute “check-in” session to any who are interested. I’ve also toyed with the idea of a daily morning “group warm-up” session for any students who are interested. If any of these options interest you, please let me know, as I’m currently piecing together my plans.

Last but not least, I realize that this is a trying time for our economy and our family budgets. As for me, I’ve had nearly all of my live performance work wiped out for the next 6 weeks. As long as our authorities get this situation under control in a timely manner, my family is going to be fine, but we are certainly looking for ways to tighten our belts in the meantime. I imagine many of you are doing the same. If the cost of lessons is going to be an impediment for you during this crisis, please tell me. I’d be happy to work with you to make arrangements so we don’t lose lesson time. Times like these are when it’s important for us to come together and help each other out, so I hope to be able to do that for you.

Thank you for your time and for your continued trust in me as your trumpet instructor. Please let me know your Skype screen name prior to your lesson this week. Or, if you prefer FaceTime, just let me know what phone number to call. And, if you need any help getting setup with Skype or FaceTime, please reach out to me right away. Thank you, and happy hand washing.

Sincerely, Nic

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