For the last decade, music instructor Danielle Wells has taught vocal, piano and ukulele lessons both in private and group lessons. Like so many other businesses, Wells’ Gilroy, California-based school, Class Act Music Academy, has moved all of its classes to the digital realm.
Music is often best taught in person, but with safety concerns about face-to-face lessons, Wells needed to pivot not only her business model but her customers’ mentality in order to stay afloat. She began teaching music lessons virtually to continue to provide quality, safe and affordable lessons to her students.
“We’ve adapted all of our curriculum to be virtual,” Wells said. “We’ve come up with creative ways to guide students to what they physically need to be doing, and students have grown in their autonomy.”
Changing the tune for virtual learning
While schools and businesses have transitioned to a remote format with varying success, Wells found that there were extra challenges to teaching music virtually.
One major challenge was getting the kids to stay emotionally connected and checked-in during lessons — something most educators have faced in the remote learning era. The other was a bit more surprising: having to convince parents that music was necessary to the emotional and mental well-being of their children during this time of uncertainty and isolation.
“I overcame this challenge by communicating more with parents and creating more projects and opportunities for students to perform and share their love of music,” said Wells.
[Read: In-Person Businesses That Have Successfully Gone Virtual]
I overcame this challenge by communicating more with parents and creating more projects and opportunities for students to perform and share their love of music.
Danielle Wells, owner, Class Act Music Academy
Wells also had to adapt to a more oral style of teaching: “So much of learning to play music can be showing what is physically happening — where your hands should go, what keys you should be pressing, where and how to breathe,” she said.
Both Wells and her students were initially frustrated by this lack of physical presence, but she found some creative ways to overcome this obstacle and keep students engaged.
“We have multiple camera angles when necessary, we’ve come up with creative ways to guide students to what they physically need to be doing, and students have grown in their autonomy,” she told CO—.
Wells said that in order to survive COVID-19, it’s important for every business to assess itself.
“Know your numbers,” she said. “And not just your financial numbers, but know the number of potential customers, how much it will cost to acquire them, what your cost of expansion will look like and if there have been any businesses that have tried [and failed] to do what you want to do, why they didn’t succeed.” Follow Class Act Music Academy on Instagram: @cama_gilroy.
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Published December 07, 2020