April Updates – “Quarantune” Resources, Volunteer Opportunities and June Events

Most of us have completed our first month of online lessons, and our teachers are reporting great progress.  The quality of lessons has evolved and improved as our teachers have gained experience and shared resources.  Our parents have gotten really creative to ensure their kids have the most optimal learning environment, and our students have seemingly taken all of the adjustments of the last month in stride.  Many of our teachers have reported that students are practicing and performing more than ever, and we expect to have many graduates in June.  We will be ready to celebrate!

That said, we wanted to acknowledge that none of this is easy.  Our world has changed and life is incredibly uncertain.  Everyone is experiencing stress and worry as we adjust to the many, many changes we are all facing.  For some of us, practice might be going really well with all of the extra time at home.  For others juggling work and home-school and other commitments, finding time or energy for practice might be just be too much.  Whatever you might be facing, however practice might look, know that it is okay.  Do what you can.  Encourage your child.  Let them know that change isn’t always easy.  And be kind to yourself.  We will get through this together.

“Quarantune” Practice Resources
Our website has always been full of great resources, with a solid collection of practice articles and tools and resources, all developed to make practice a little easier.  We thought it might be a good idea to add to our collection while we are all at home, so we are happy to point our ESPS members to our new “Quarantune” Practice Aids and Resources.  We’ve got games, new word searches, plus a fun resources list of interesting web links, useful websites and apps and entertaining books and movies, all curated by our ESPS teachers.  We’ve also begun building a Quarantune photo album, full of photos shared by our families and teachers.  Take a look – we hope that all these new resources might be useful at practice time!  And, send us your photos of piano at home – it’s fun to see what everyone is doing to make staying at home fun!

June Recitals and Graduation – Update
We wanted to let you know that our annual bookings at Convocation Hall at the the University of Alberta have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  This means we will not be hosting in-person recitals in June.  Similarly, the current guidelines about public gatherings from AHS means that it is likely that we will be offering an alternative format at graduation time.  This is disappointing news.  Our students work diligently to learn and polish their pieces to share with friends and family at these performances.  It is the highlight of our year and we will miss them very much.  But, we are working to develop alternate plans for virtual recitals and are exploring a number of ideas about how to best do this.  We’ll keep you posted as we figure things out. 

In the meantime, if you have ideas or experience with videography, video editing, or even large scale web-conferencing or Youtube, please speak to your teacher.  We want to make our year-end concerts the best they can be, and if you can help, we want to hear from you!
Volunteer Opportunities
For those of you who still need to fulfill your volunteer commitment for the year, we have some new projects that we need help with.  Our first project actually involves our students.  Sometimes, our teachers ask students to illustrate a picture or write a story that reflects the music they are learning to play, and we thought it might be neat to create a collection of this work that we can use in future workbooks, publications or even on social media.  Students can create original artwork or a story that reflects their vision of a piece in our Suzuki repertoire, and then parents will be asked to send it on to me in original or electronic format.

Our second project involves our June recitals and graduations.  We are looking for parent volunteers who have the equipment and the ability to help record student performances and/or edit recordings.  We’re not entirely sure what this looks like yet, and we’re hoping some knowledgeable parent volunteers can help us figure it out.

Watch for more information to come from me via signupgenius.com.  You’ll be able to sign up there, and I’ll follow up to confirm details.  
As always, get in touch with your questions, concerns or ideas.  We want to hear about what is working for you, what might be helpful right now, or how your teacher is helping to make virtual learning a little better.