High Life Highland music instructors appear to be leading the way for online music tuition in Scotland during the current pandemic by continuing to teach pupils across the area using online methods.
Many HLH music instructors were already using online methods and innovative technology for teaching and supporting pupils prior to the onset of Covid-19. This was part of the teaching style in Highland where pupils are dispersed across a wide geographic area.
Since the lockdown started, instructors have focussed on developing and improving the approach by uploading additional materials and building upon their own skills in using the online tools, including the GSuite range of services (including secure ways to share live video). This means the instructors have quickly been able to continue to offer a variety of ways to teach pupils, continuing the planned programme of tuition for most pupils.
Lessons are delivered using one of three options:
- Meeting in real time, accessing GSuite ‘Meets’, using live video
- Videos captured by pupils, emailed to instructors for their comments and instructions
- Digital materials uploaded by instructors to GSuite’s Classroom for use by one or more pupils.
Steve Walsh, High Life Highland’s Chief Executive said: “We’re incredibly fortunate that working with our partners in The Highland Council, we had already developed the infrastructure to work in this way. Since the lockdown our instructors have put a great deal of work into uploading more material and honing their own skills in using the online tools to benefit our many pupils across the area.
“Our instructors are now really embracing the technology to engage with a growing number of pupils and it is so reassuring to hear that after being in touch with colleagues elsewhere in Scotland, it would seem that they are well ahead of other parts of the country in delivering online music tuition in this way during this unprecedented period.
“Initial feedback from parents is positive, with many commenting on how much they appreciate the opportunity for their child to have a different way to learn from home. Some parents have also highlighted the positive effect for pupils of having social contact with their instructor and fellow pupils during this lockdown period.”
As part of the approach to music tuition online, HLH music instructors aim to maintain some group teaching using the technology available, meaning that pupils can keep in touch with others with whom they usually share lessons at school. This allows an additional element of social contact to be included for school pupils who may otherwise find them socially isolated. As this is a relatively new way of teaching, staff have been given clear guidelines about safeguarding pupils when working online; adding to the professional codes of conduct already in place. Feedback from participants:
Home schooling doesn’t have to mean being stuck indoors: Brodie one of our pupils from the Black Isle made the most of the sunshine to get some practice done for his online drumming lessons with HLH Instructor Drew Caldwell.
Pupils and staff in Primaries 5 and 6 at Inverlochy Primary, Fort William, are usually involved in weekly band class with HLH Instructors Mark Reynolds and Karen Thomson. The instructors are holding virtual band classes, including one where many of the pupils joined their peers in a ‘long note challenge’ and make contact with each other.