Hello Everyone,

What challenging times we are all experiencing! Things are moving so fast that making the best decision for you, your family and your business is a daunting task. We wish to assure you, that we will support you, our teachers, during this time. We are currently in full operation at the Musikgarten office and will notify you immediately if this changes. Below I address several topics which concern us all.

Supporting our families: parents and children
The parents, and even more so, the children in your studio will experience a lot of anxiety: almost everything they look forward to on a daily basis, whether it is preschool, grade school, music class, family gatherings, or church, is being cancelled. We cannot take away this anxiety, but we can do our part to help support the families during this time.

Since children will be spending an extended time (of unknown duration) at home there will be great temptation to keep them occupied with a screen, whether it be normal TV shows, games, school work, church broadcasts, etc. Gently remind parents and caregivers to do simple things with their children. From their Musikgarten classes with you, they will have many of the resources they need:

  • Encourage your families to use the recordings: Listen to them, dance to them, and sing to them.
  • Go outside and explore nature: Intentionally pay attention to what you hear.
  • Write parents a frequent note suggesting an activity that was a class favorite. Suggest how they might adjust it to enjoy with the family. Stay connected: Short email or text notes of encouragement say a lot.

All of the above are natural stress relievers.

Video vs. live Virtual:
At the outset I would like to clarify the copyright of all Musikgarten recordings and how they may be used. Under normal circumstances Musikgarten would not allow the reproduction of any of our material in any format, including playing Musikgarten recordings in a video. This is illegal and is one of the reasons YouTube has invested heavily in tracking copyright and monetization.

We are however in unusual times. We know that your families have the recordings already, and that any video you produce during this time will help to keep your families actively engaged. During this time period of uncertainty Musikgarten will allow licensed teachers to use the recordings in a video context. This is temporary and you will need to post this notice on all communication to your parents:

Note: Musikgarten, our curriculum provider, has granted “your studio name” permission to develop these videos or virtual classes for our currently enrolled families. While we are excited to offer them with you and your family, sharing the videos, playlist or content beyond your own household is not permitted. Your adherence to this policy is appreciated.
Specific ideas for each avenue:
Video:  Here you have quite a few options.
  • Record a full class with just you or you and your staff leading the parent with child.
  • TIP: Remember to look into the camera, speaking to the child who is ‘out there.’ Place a doll or stuffed animal behind the camera, and speak/sing to it. 
  • Record shorter clips of activities for parents to use with their child. These could simply be reminders of things they have done in class. In times of stress, songs and activities we know and have enjoyed together with friends and families are particularly welcome and fun. Introduce new songs and activities that are included in the parent books and recordings. You are really only limited by your creativity.
A once-a-week video message “My Music Class with Miss _____ “could keep your class in the family’s minds and become something to look forward each week.

You probably feel some apprehension, but do know that it does not have to be perfect. Like most things new in life, it takes patience and practice. Be yourself! Smile and move and sing just like you do in class. Make a Smart-Phone-quickie-Video of yourself to practice! You’ll get the hang of it quickly.

You can distribute these several ways. Smaller video files can be emailed or texted. Larger video files can be uploaded to YouTube, Google Drive or other cloud storage that you may already use. If you use YouTube, it is best to upload the file and have it marked as “unlisted”. You can then send the “unlisted” link to your families.

Note: “Unlisted” videos in YouTube mean that only the person or group you send the video link to will be able to open the link.

Virtual Music Classes:  Virtual classes are an option. Become aware of limitations, complications and downsides, but also recognize the upside. The main upside is the connection with your families, keeping them engaged, letting them know you care, and hopefully maintaining their love of your program. To see a real world example of this experience, please refer to these recent blog posts:

With today’s technology you have a wealth of options – Facebook Live, YouTube Live, platforms like Google Handouts, Zoom, Webex, Face Time, etc. You will need to do a little research to find what works best for you and your families. Remember that nothing will go perfect the first time. Try something, learn from it and apply to the next time.

Any effort you make to stay connected to your families will help boost the children’s social, emotional, and physical well being.  Also, remember the Musikgarten Teacher Facebook page is a great resource during this time. There are a lot of great ideas being offered.

This is new territory for everyone and we will strive to support you in your efforts. If you have questions or concerns, please contact us. We want to help!

Jeff Spickard