The Powers HOME Approach to Online Music Education
Though the concept of “holistic” education isn’t new, we believe that the HOME approach is a relatively untested concept in community music education in our area. Below, we outline some key principles of Powers HOME that make online learning not just a suitable back-up option during a temporary global crisis, but also a strong, valuable, and effective way of learning that opens up a new world of possibilities for community music education.
A common definition of “holistic” refers to experiences that connect you more deeply to the community, your relationships, human values, your own self and even to the earth. In education, it often means a comprehensive way to develop the “whole student” – mind, body, and spirit. Essentially, what you’re learning is directly connected to yourself and your life experiences.
Through music, we learn technical skills, but we also learn how to use and apply those skills in other music settings and in our everyday life. We try things, we improvise, we make connections, we grow. We have supportive relationships with our teacher and our peers (those at our level, and others who we look up to). Together, these things give us confidence and enthusiasm. Over time, as we continue to improve and experiment and learn from the world around us, we broaden our perspective of music. Only then do we truly start to bring a sense of artistry to our music, develop our own signature style, and carve out our purpose and place in the world.
This long-term view of holistic music learning affects our minds, bodies, and spirits. It helps us strengthen our relationships with others. It instills a love of learning that sticks with us as we appreciate the arts and participate actively. It helps us grow and achieve in other areas as well – music has been proven to help students succeed in science, math, and technology, and further social and emotional growth.
When we say “holistic,” we mean that this style of learning really digs in deep. Holistic music education doesn’t just teach you how to play, it helps shape you. Our music affects our lives, and our lives affect our music. Everything is interconnected.
The beauty of remote instruction is that you can take advantage of it almost anywhere! At a basic level, you must have reliable access to the internet, a streaming video platform, and your instrument. From there, you can decide whether a specific room in your home, a private space at your office, or anywhere without sound and distractions is ideal for you.
With that said, we highly encourage you to designate a specific spot in your house that you can optimize to make a consistent and controllable learning environment. What do we mean by “optimize?” Minimize noise and distractions as much as possible. This might mean talking to other family members and creating some boundaries about how they can talk to you and whether they can enter the room during your lesson or class time. It might mean keeping the dog downstairs, turning your cell phone off for 45 minutes, and letting the laundry stay in the basement unfolded. The goal is to create an environment where you can stay focused solely on learning music.
Just as you would in a physical space, it’s also important to show up to your lesson or class with a positive mindset. A “growth mindset” is one where you believe and feel that anything is possible with practice and determination. How we prepare ourselves and how we prepare the space around us both play a key role in how successful we’ll be learning in any context, but particularly online.
On the other side of the screen, our instructors know that teaching remotely is different from teaching onsite in a studio. What works best for an individual adult in-person might not work well with a group class online, with the attention span of younger students watching a screen, or with specific technical skills, for example. Because your instructor is not able to physically position your fingers on the strings or the keys, good communication and some creativity is required to adapt lesson plans to each unique student.
Your teacher will also be able to recommend any specific equipment or technology that’s needed for your instrument and advise you on how to set everything up to make your learning experience really strong.
What can you learn through remote instruction? Well, almost anything. At Powers, we are fortunate to have instructors who specialize in more than 40 different instruments, but it doesn’t stop there. For each instrument, there are different genres and types of repertoire available. Beyond the skills needed to play the instrument and learn the material, topics like music theory, composition, improvisation, the history of music, and how music is experienced throughout the world all play a part in holistic learning.
Delivering instruction online also brings a wealth of opportunity for collaboration, guest artists and masterclasses, workshops, and learning experiences provided by instructors and teaching artists located far beyond the Powers campus. As we continue to grow and expand Powers HOME, we’ll be exploring how technology can open the doors to so many more ways of learning than we could ever provide onsite.
At the heart of any type of instruction are the instructors themselves. A good teacher is one you can trust on a personal level, and somebody who can deliver instruction of the highest standard. A good remote teacher has the expertise to teach the material, but also understands and has experience in adapting to the nuances and challenges of teaching online. We don’t ask that our teachers know it all, especially as technology is always evolving, but we do ask that they have the willingness to face any challenge in a positive way.
You might wonder how a remote private lesson is much different from trying to learn an instrument on your own through YouTube or an online course. It’s true that there are thousands of people and websites offering to teach you something for very little money. Some students can go far if they are strongly self-motivated, if they know how to structure their time, and if they know where to go for answers to their questions. But these videos and programs are one-size-fits-all.
Wouldn’t it be easier to learn from somebody you already trust, with personalized feedback and real-time support? There’s no waiting for the instructor to email the answers to your questions, no guessing if you’re doing it right. Each hour you’re in a lesson or class, your teacher is there for you. As you grow and improve, the instruction grows and adapts with you. The quality of the instruction you or your child will receive through the HOME approach is just as valuable (and sometimes even more so!) as an in-person lesson or class.
A good YouTube video can help you gain skills. A good remote instructor can help you grow as a musician and connect your skills to your own life and to the world around you. A good teacher can help you learn how to learn.
We encourage you to jump in and give the HOME approach a try! We’re excited to learn and grow alongside you.
If you or a family member is interested in enrolling in a HOME private lesson, feel free to jump right to the class page you’re interested in above for all details, tuition, and registration, or fill out our inquiry form below to connect with a Powers staff member:
Tips for Online Music Learning with Young Kids
Looking for an online music program for your baby, toddler, preschooler, or kindergartener?
We’ve put together a quick guide with 9 tips for navigating all of the available resources online, what to look for in a good online music class for kids, and how to get the most out of your experience.