While there are so many things about online piano lessons that are a challenge, or simply impossible, one thing we can still do well during FaceTime piano lessons is student-assigned compositions. Usually, students draw their composition subjects from a bowl of titles that the kids have written. There are some wacky composition titles in this bowl, let me tell you. Things like “Some Grapes” or “A Carpet” or even better “A Rusty Water Bottle.” My favorite might be “The Truth Hurts,” which was written by a teenage girl (of course.). Whenever a Little One draws this title, they are bewildered and befuddled, “Miss Amy, what does this even mean?”

These days, I draw a couple of titles from the bowl at the beginning of the week and then offer them as choices during lessons. Last week’s composition titles: Clouds or Windy Nights. The second one, in particular, is timely, because it is spring in New Mexico, which means a lot of windy nights. Last night, in fact, it sounded like the house was going to blow down.

Tuesday afternoon I offered these two titles to Max. There was a long pause. “I want to do something else,” he said. “I want to do a composition called: I am annoyed and bored at home.”

Max is eight. Max, it turns out, has pretty much captured the mood of the studio. So these days I have begun offering three composition titles: Clouds or Windy Nights or “I am annoyed and bored at home.” Across the computer screen, the kids’ faces have lit up at this last suggestion. No one wants Clouds or Windy Night. Everyone, it seems, can relate all too well to I am annoyed and bored at home.

 I am not bored, but I am annoyed at the number of articles and links directed at me about “How to use online technology for music lessons in the time of COVID-19.” If I read one more thing about how Zoom will make my life better I might scream. It is not making my life better. It may be necessary, and I am grateful for it, but it is not better.

I am so annoyed in fact that when Alfred Music Publishing reached out last week to its authors about submitting articles for their blog about teaching during Coronavirus, I had something written in my head in minutes. It was not about the merits of Zoom. However, it went live on Alfred’s social media on Tuesday afternoon.

Read here.