Over 500 Remote Individual Music Lessons Delivered Weekly

A major challenge of the start of lockdown was to deliver as much as possible of our music programme through remote teaching. We were not, however, prepared for the new opportunities which remote teaching have offered. Over 500 individual music lessons per week are now being delivered remotely at Wycombe Abbey, coordinated across a global campus involving a wide range of time zones and living circumstances.

Our team of Visiting Music Teachers have adapted effectively to the new working environment.

Girl Playing Cello | Wycombe AbbeyThe most considerable impact of the new lessons has been the positive effect on independent learning: girls are taking increased responsibility for their own practice, and the narrow scope of the screen appears to foster a particularly focused learning environment. Girls are learning new skills, such as tuning, from an earlier stage and are proactive in marking their music, taking notes and making the best use of the time available. Staff have commented on how girls are now set-up and ready to start before the lesson officially begins and are “excited and cheerful”. One of our violin teachers commented that online teaching is “very productive and it creates and encourages new ways of teaching and learning”

WiFi latency has made live collaboration challenging in some cases. Teachers have found a solution to this in providing pupils with accompaniments to play along to at home. The Microsoft Teams interface is also providing a platform to share music, ideas and tips.

We are now looking at expanding our co-curricular programme into the virtual world. Mr Ledingham has already led on putting together an upbeat Stageband performance of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Say a Little Prayer’. You can watch this here.

We are experimenting with Virtual Choir performances, such as for the School’s commemoration of the VE Day celebrations, and are looking forward to our first Online Friday Lunchtime Concert. Having the opportunity to work with Wycombe Abbey girls again has certainly brought life back into lockdown and we are so fortunate that they can continue to develop as musicians in these difficult times.

One pupil commented: “I have really enjoyed my online music lessons this term, despite the challenges of remote learning. Creating the band video was a really fun experience- I used my phone to record it and my laptop to play the backing track through headphones. It took me a few tries to get it right, but it was great to have the opportunity, in these circumstances, to share something as a group and to watch the compiled video.”

Mr Stefan Reid, Director of Music