Musical Distancing

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By Lisa Cyr

Here I am social distancing on my back porch. A light breeze gently shaking the leaves, while puffy white clouds float beneath a blue sky. School is out and I can hear children playing in the streets, hopefully social distancing themselves from each other. Our outdoor cat, Mocha, is relaxing into a deep sleep. She is one big brown oblivious poof ball of fluff. Not a care in the world. So, now what? I can only drink so much sweet tea while waiting for the official “ok” for my piano students to return.

Just think, two weeks ago our primary focus was toilet paper and hand sanitizer gel. Now we are waiting for a virus to tell us when we are returning to normal, like in the “Twilight Zone.” I just received a message on my cell phone that those age 65 and over should not even leave their front door. It reminded me of those emergency announcements we used to see on TV saying, “This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System. If this had been an actual emergency…” It usually interrupted my “favorite program.”

When the emergency is over, do we really want to return to our same “favorite program?” Our fast-paced society reminds me of the now outlawed “roundabouts” at playgrounds. Spinning so fast, centrifugal force eventually taking over sending us flying off or just barely holding on. Life can be that way.

There are ways to reduce centrifugal force. Slow down. Playing a musical instrument is soothing, challenging, fun, productively time consuming, and rewarding. An activity we can do inside or outside, privately or in a group setting. Some of us have musical instruments around our home. Now is a good time to open them up and begin experimenting. You can’t go wrong, just have fun and a free spirit. Try finding the notes from your favorite song.

If you have several children, try forming a stomp percussion group using things like a wood block, coffee can, bucket, shaker, or yes. those empty toilet paper rolls! Get on YouTube and pick out stomp type music with a fun beat. Have them play along with it. Encourage them to create their own music from that example. For older children, they can get together and try to form their own “band.” Our three children did that every summer break. During their college years, they performed together regularly around Tallahassee and recorded two original albums. The band’s name was “Quiet People.”

There are a variety of online websites that have keyboards and music learning games such as:

www.onlinepianist.com/virtual-piano (online keyboard with letters on keys)
www.classicsforkids.com/games.html (games)
www.musictechteacher.com/music_quizzes/music_quizzes.htm (games)
For middle schoolers and up:
www.musictheory.net/exercises

There does come a time when a teacher is needed to refine and define musical skills. Some students study with a teacher right away. While others, develop an interest and then seek greater ability and understanding from a teacher. During this “at home time” our teachers offer online lessons with platforms such as: Zoom, Skype, or Facetime. Eventually, you may change over to “in-person lessons” here at the studio or remain online. The best scenario is an in-person private lesson because teachers are able to tweak hand positions, fingers, and help a student quickly resolve a playing problem.

Studio 237 Music Lessons is located in Santa Rosa Beach. Our teachers seek to patiently help you succeed on your instrument. Give the studio a call to schedule a visit, ask questions, or get started with lessons at 850-231-3199. Our website is www.Studio237Music.com where you can learn more about our teachers, instruments, studio, rates, and more. Email is Studio237Dawson@gmail.com.