Q: What is it like teaching music online?
Josh: It’s a unique challenge. In some ways it opens up the potential for more interactive learning for students, and access to online resources and music. On the other hand, audio/visual delays caused by the internet make live interaction nearly impossible, particularly when playing a song together. It’s also important to note the accessibility the internet provides to those who otherwise would struggle to leave the house, but also the wall it puts up for those who don’t have access to computers or internet connection.
Q: Do you prefer teaching music in person?
Josh: Absolutely. I can’t wait to come back to the studio, as well as we’ve been able to adapt to the change, the importance of face to face interaction in music lessons is immeasurable.
Q: How are your students going with it?
Josh: My students have all risen to the challenge of adapting to the differences in learning at home instead of the studio. This of course adds extra distractions to the lesson, which can slow things down a fair bit, but most students are more than willing to listen with patience and care, whilst we sort it out.
Q: Are some instruments easier to teach online than others?
Josh: Singing, in particular, has unique challenges for teaching online – latency issues are far greater, and tone and quality are naturally diminished by bandwidth limits. Guitar, in some cases, is actually easier to teach online! The use of the camera allows for more directed learning. I can point the neck of the guitar right at the camera and show a student exactly what they need to be looking at, for example.
Q: How are you going as a musician at this time? Studying, working?J
Josh: I’m currently studying Interactive Composition at VCA. It’s definitely been a diminished learning experience, but nonetheless still enriching and engaging. I’ve also been working on my own personal solo projects. In particular, I’ve been slowly releasing an album of ambient electronic works.
Q: Have you worked out ways of playing online, with friends, in bands?
Josh: Part of my class has involved figuring out how answer this very question. In a way, yes we have, but as mentioned above, there’s always the limitation of internet latency and its effect on rhythm. This means we’re mostly focusing on collaborating on long-form, drone-like pieces. Apart from that, I’ve been sending out recordings to musicians I want to work with, and slowly developing pieces via correspondence.
Q: Have you done any online performances?
Josh: I haven’t been performing very much, but I do have a ‘live’ pre-recorded concert coming up this Friday, as part of my course! Details have yet to be formally announced, but I’ll let you know when that changes!
Q: How well have you been able to adapt?
Josh: Personally, I’m a bit of a homebody. It’s been nice not having to worry about public transport timetables, waking up in time for breakfast, or if I’ve showered recently. On the other hand, I do really miss the community. Music is my favourite way to communicate, and without it, I feel less whole. It’s a trade-off, of course, and I’m lucky that my family and friends have been safe and healthy throughout the situation, so I don’t begrudge the necessity for closures. Still, I cannot wait to return to work, to learning, to life, and to playing.