How COVID-19 Changed Music Education In India?

Music education has been a recipient of some of the positive elements that emerged from the situation that we are in.

2020 has been a year of change meaning unexpected and inevitable change to almost everything that we were used to as a society. The pandemic still continues to teach us important lessons about the fragility of otherwise well-conceived social and business models. Adapting to unexpected situations and being resilient seemed to be the mantra everywhere. There has been a flurry of theories about the 'new normal, while one segment of the society firmly believed that this is just a phase and like every other challenge humanity has faced, this shall also pass and we will return to life as it was known to us before 2020.

Music education has been a recipient of some of the positive elements that emerged from the situation that we are in. There will be many who might disagree with this statement and it is believed that like everything else, this too is purely contextual. There are various examples of music educators who embraced the inevitable changes during the lockdown and transformed them into a highly enriching learning (and teaching) experience. This is not to say that traditional forms of music education are set to disappear, and they will not. However, now we have been presented with new opportunities to augment the learning and teaching experience and it is only prudent to make the best out of it.

While a small number of online music education providers were gaining traction during the pre-covid years, the learner preference continued to lean towards face-to-face classes. Music education too faced the brunt of loss of access to face-to-face teaching in 2020. However, many enterprising music teachers and schools were swift to introduce remote online classes. Teaching music over video calling apps have since become prevalent, with schools and music teachers offering 1-to-1 or small group lessons with personalised attention. Where learners have access to their instruments, this form of music learning has proven to be as effective and perhaps more efficient. One can do a quick math to understand the positive effects of time and cost savings from commuting for music lessons, especially in overcrowded metropolitan areas.

These remote music lessons also opened up a new possibility of access to quality music education to a wider set of learners from all corners of the country. Previously, top-notch music schools and qualified and experienced teachers were mostly available only in the big cities and metropolitan areas. With the ever increasing mobile internet penetration, it has now become all the more possible for many aspiring learners to seek quality music education, previously only available several hundred or thousand kilometers from their homes.

This transition to online digital delivery of music lessons has not always been a smooth ride for many. Teaching music online requires a completely different set of skills, compared to being in the same room with the learners. Therefore, it is important to carefully assess the teaching approach and methodology of independent music teachers, if you are planning to learn music remotely from an individual. Many might offer trial lessons for learners to experience the process. However, there is more to learning music online and remotely than just attending Zoom or Skype lessons. Institutes like The True School of Music have invested heavily in online remote learning infrastructure and teacher enablement to ensure a truly immersive and social learning experience. One of the aspects that suffered the most during the transition to online music education was the ability to experience ensemble playing, and our faculty at True School have come up with innovative approaches to collaborative music playing in a remote learning environment. Similarly, we pay a lot of attention to social and collaborative learning within our online music courses that help foster tightly knit communities among our students and faculty.

Looking into the future, it is believed that many of these new approaches to music education will continue to stay, even as we slowly return to physical learning spaces. Just think about the gamut of possibilities you’ll have compared to your neighborhood music lessons. You could choose to learn from expert music teachers from anywhere in the country, and even the world, and be a part of an expansive network of musicians by learning with a global student community. There won't be a thing as a missed lesson, since you’ll have the opportunity to possibly review and re-experience every lesson on-demand. The wider acceptance of learning music remotely has been encouraging, and we believe that this will lead to many more aspiring musicians taking up formal music education to realize their creative potential.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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