Conservatory during the COVID-19 pandemic

We're all concerned about the current COVID-19 pandemic situation. We're committed to taking the best precautions to ensure the safety of our students, but that won't stop them from learning to play their musical instruments.  

What does this mean for the conservatory?  

For a while, this means distance learning.   
No worries! The VCS Radio Conservatory has long been equipped to handle a changing world of digital communication and artistic education. This is how our kids get so good in the upper grades. We collaborate online as well as in-class and on the stage. We've been doing it for years! We're excited to extend this digital opportunity to the VCS Elementary Band.  

Can we still do concerts?    

Yes! The beautiful thing about music is that it can wait through any difficult times. We'll simply hold the concerts when things return to normal, and they WILL return to normal.  
In the meantime, we have digital venues unprecedented in the nation! We have a full broadcast facility FM 100.9 KVCB and our VCSTV to do a variety of exciting performances. Even if they postpone their stage career, they will still get to be radio and TV stars!  

I'm looking forward to our continuing adventures in the arts!  

To begin, let's talk about ZOOM!   

This is the group video communication format chosen by VCS to conduct distance class meetings! It works great!  


What you'll need for the ZOOM session:  


Before class begins, have your child set up his/her instrument, book, and music stand. Practice making sure the camera sees the student and instrument when being played. I don't need to see the book, but your child does.  You might need to be there to adjust the camera at first. This takes a little getting used to. The first session is all about setting up.   


I'll direct the students once they play in turn. Zoom is not intended to be a band rehearsal. Oh my! Could you imagine if they all played at once?!?! There would be echoes and distorted sound, and I think your computer would blow up! Haha, just kidding! Actually, after a short lesson and some direction, I will listen to each child individually by activating their microphone in turn. Then, Away we go!!  


Would you like more for your child?  

Okay, let's talk about the SmartMusic app   

While students are away from campus, there are exciting ways to practice at home and move forward with band music for our broadcast and/or stage concerts!   

It's an app, similar to what I use with my advanced students for composition, but it's geared for young musicians to move forward in exciting ways and at his/her own pace!  

SmartMusic is a subscription service that will be free of charge to my students until the end of the school year. It's designed for me to help your child progress beyond the Zoom sessions.   


It's really cool! I load up your child's book and band assignments. All your child has to do is read the exercises in the book from the computer screen at his/her convenience. The app listens to the performance and automatically marks the wrong notes in red and suggests a proper fingering. Your child can perform the work over again to perfect it. When he/she is happy with the recording, just press send, and the performance is sent directly to me, and I'll check it off or provide some feedback, and on we go!!   


Oh, but it gets better! I can even load up concert music, and the app will provide the sound of a full band minus your child's part. He/she just fills in the missing music and join in on the band. By the time we get back together for real campus classes, we'll already have the music set to go!!  


This is a "tried-and-true" application for teachers and their students that usually costs additional money, but during the covid-19 situation, it is provided free of charge.