Until now, the presence of musical performance classes was a premise “sine qua non” in any conservatory. The pandemic of coronavirus COVID-19 has also broken into the way of teaching
, at least temporarily, and WhatsApp or Youtube they are already such essential instruments as the violin or the piano.
Students and teachers of all levels have been forced to adapt to the confinement imposed by the pandemic and many conservatories and music schools offer the possibility of continuing with teaching from home through video calls or recordings on YouTube so that the fingers do not stop respond when there is a need to return to normal.
Students and teachers of all levels have been forced to adapt to confinement
The change has also reached higher education centers such as the Higher Music Center of the Basque Country Musikene, whose high levels of demand complicate the situation. The students of this center located in San Sebastián receive, from a distance from their homes, the advice of their teachers to achieve the almost perfect interpretation that is supposed to these aspiring professional concert performers.
Music has an added component of difficulty in adapting to telematic methods, since the usual platforms may be perfect for theoretical subjects, but they are not prepared to work the sound at the level of detail that a high-level student needs. .
“We have resorted to skipe, which sometimes works and other times it does not, but finally the students themselves have chosen to record themselves with their mobile phones or on a particular YouTube channel ”, explains Marta Zabaleta, pianist and teacher at Musikene who uses this formula with her undergraduate and specialty.
In fact, some of them confess that they do “up to eight tests” before sending the final one to their teacher. “There are so many perfectionists that I still haven’t received anything from them,” says her teacher. “This is good for them because they have to see each other and makes them be self-critical. They see themselves, they listen to them and they realize that they can correct themselves, ”says Zabaleta, although he acknowledges that this is an exceptional solution for an exceptional situation.
Some students do “up to eight tests” before sending the final recording to their teacher
The materials, small recordings of no more than five minutes, are listened to by the teacher, who makes the pertinent annotations in the scores that she has in her library, and conveys to the student, through a video call, the details that can be improved.
“It is very complicated with reverberation. The tempos, the gestures, the musical idea can be worked on, but not the beauty of the sound, “says Zabaleta. But technology and imagination when looking for alternative formulas to traditional classes do not solve one of the big problems that these young musicians face, especially those of a high level: the more than four and five hours of rehearsal a day that they need.
The coronavirus has eliminated the possibility of studying in conservatory classrooms, which have soundproofed spaces where young musicians can repeat as many times as they need the bars that are resisting them without disturbing the neighbors.
In the case of pianists, the problem is aggravated because very few have a grand piano at home like those available to them in study centers. Most have upright “very garish” upright pianos that are sometimes in the living room of the house, making it difficult to combine study hours with television for the rest of the family, “and more so when everyone is in seclusion,” says Zabaleta.
In the case of pianists, the problem is aggravated because very few have a grand piano at home.
Added to this is the uncertainty about the exams, initially planned for the end of May or the first of June, especially for those who are in the last year of the degree. This is the case of Maite Saíz who recognizes that she is afraid of how the course will end and ensures that they have no information about what will happen.
“We have been with the recording system for a short time and maybe we have to get used to it,” he says. But if “the teacher does not receive a reliable sound source” the quality is not so good, regrets this student who hopes that normality will return as soon as possible because in this area the tradition of the classroom is always the best option.