Two weeks ago, I had never heard of Zoom. I had never done FaceTime with anyone. I have now learned to do FaceTime. I have now learned to Zoom. But I agree with a friend who said, about online teaching: “We should not get too good at this.” We don’t want to live here. This is an emergency situation, a stopgap measure in these days of Shelter-At-Home.

The learning curve has been far steeper for me than for the kids who have been training for technologically-enhanced piano lessons their whole lives. For me, it’s been exhausting and frustrating, and at the same time, sometimes strangely wonderful and sweet.

Here are 5 Fun Facts from the Ten Thousand Stars online studio, Week Two.

One. I have met a lot of dogs, a couple of cats, a gecko and two guinea pigs. Almost every one of my students has a home with yellow walls. I don’t know why.

Two. Kids play differently on their own pianos. They are more comfortable; I get a better glimpse what practice situations might really look like in their living rooms. I see proof of “I can play this better at home,” which I have always suspected was true and not just a lame excuse. Having said all of that, the squirmy behaviors for the Little Ones goes up by a factor of ten. Matt says he is exhausted from listening to me say, “Hey kid. I need you sitting ON the piano bench.”

Three. True: there is value in having kids handwrite their own assignments and practice steps. Also true: kids write really slow.

Four. We are making a lot of videos. Students make short videos of scales or etudes or excerpts of their pieces and text them to me. I make videos of new skills or musical examples and text them to students. Post-Coronavirus (I am hopeful that this world will exist), I will continue both. The student videos can provide a good accountability and a deadline midweek. The videos I make can give them something tangible to reference in between lessons. I should have been doing both long before social distancing. My favorite video so far is from a nine-year-old boy. He ends his performance of a little elementary piece with the biggest grin and a joyful fist bump of triumph. I absolutely loved this.

Five. Piano lesson are about so much more than piano skills. There could be entire books written about this truth.

Carry the future lightly, friends. Things are shifting at faster than we can process. Today’s decisions are irrelevant tomorrow.

Stay well.