My Online Teaching Journey Joanna Fairs-Wu

As one of the “older generation” of teachers, it has been a real education to adopt the online learning platforms. Fortunately I had already experienced video conferencing lessons so the “dreaded lag” was not a surprise! The transition was very easy and highlighted some major benefits for the teacher and student. Firstly, the formal lesson format changed as the student was more relaxed and at ease at home. Secondly, the older students took responsibility for their learning by writing down their own lesson notes (very interesting to see!)

For the younger students, the parental support has been magical! They often helped out with physical movements (aiding bow arm movements or posture correction), taking notes and of course setting up the online lesson. And those parents have really gained an insight into the complexities of learning the violin. Another valuable skill that students and parents have learnt is how to tune their instruments without any aid from the teacher.

From the teacher’s point of view, different teaching styles have been needed as we cannot play along with the student or get hands-on with postural adjustments eg the system of listening to small sections demonstrated by the teacher with the student copying has been great for developing listening skills. Being “at home” with the student has also meant that lessons run more as a supervised practice session. I would listen to a piece played through in its entirety and take notes about particular bars that needed attention, then talk through the relevant points with the student on how to solve any technical, intonation or phrasing issues with special practice techniques.

With nearly all my students now back to face-to-face lessons I appreciate the most beautiful and pure sound quality of the violin with no more frozen students!

Joanna Fairs-Wu
Head of Strings