Well, I know I'm not alone when I say I'm a little hesitant in making big plans for 2021! Ha! But after the year, 2020, how can anyone blame us? Normally, I make my yearly goals and do what I can to make them happen. However, this year, I'm just going to be content with seeing how things go and using what I learned in 2020 to help me stay focused on the positives.
In 2020, I had big plans! MSS was going very strong and I wanted to keep that going! However, our plans for the spring went splat. We had a full studio with full teacher schedules. Then, everything shut down. We had to go completely virtual. It was only going to be for a week or two, then a month, then 6 more weeks...looking around, small business were suffering and closing! I went in to overdrive last spring. There was not a chance that this virus was going to take out what I had spent years building. I know every small business was thinking the very same thing. We had some student who just completely stopped lessons because they wouldn't even try virtual. I'm not gonna lie, this made me very sad, and even angry. But, there was not a whole lot I could do about that, so I just kept moving forward. We did our first ever virtual recital and I think it was good and bad. It pushed our students on a very different level and some students recorded hundreds of times! The video thing was stressful! The good thing is that it taught them "how" to practice and all of those times of recording were "thoughtful" practicing. And I think it's great that these students wanted a great finished product! Also on the plus side is that we have a souvenir from COVID lessons.
The same thing happened through the summer, and yet it was different. Music lessons actually became more of a priority. We were not competing with camps, sports, or vacations. Because so many people were not traveling, they chose to do something they could do at home. Some signed up for the minimum number of summer lessons, but when this virus just kept spreading it's love, those people decided to stay home and take more lessons! How great is that? We may not have added as many students as we normally do during the summer, but we taught 200 more lessons than we did the summer before! I'm serious! Some started to come back in person, though many stayed virtual cause it was convenient AND it does work!
Fall 2020 had me a little worried as well. Many families decided that with their kids being virtual for school that music was just too much to add. That's a lot of screen time. I get it. However, others felt it was a good break from school. So, we added more students in October and November. Our holiday recital was a little different than the spring recital. We made it less stressful by adding holiday cheer and a "fun" contest. We wanted PJs and holiday decorations, and you could feel the positively-fun energy from so many of the videos. What a wonderful way of spreading musical cheer!
So, what have we learned? No matter how overwhelmed I get with work and the business, I always come back to Music SO Simple. Simple. We've gotta keep things simple. We learned that music making IS a priority! And where in years past, private lessons are not as fun because it's not a "social" thing. Well, now, we have learned that this is a good thing (I mean, duh!)! It's something we can do on our own! As teachers, we have learned soooo much about how we communicate. No longer can we just pick up our students hands and put them in the correct place. Nope. We've got to talk through it. We are making our students work just a little harder. They have had to listen as well! But all in all, we have learned that music is just so important.
So, for 2021, as we cannot "plan" like we have in the past, I want to keep it simple. I want to be grateful for these simple things we have learned in this past year. I want to spread as much musical joy as possible. I want to be inspired every day to keep going, and music helps me do that. My relationships with my students inspire me. If you ask any teacher what they missed while things were shut down, you will hear that they missed their students. We love what we give to them and what they give to us. If we have learned anything this past year, it's that we can't control. We have learned about the simple things in life and we have adjusted. Cheers to our 2021. May it be everything you need it to be!