Earlier this year your son/daughter signed up for instrument or vocal lessons and received these weekly whilst we were in school. There has been some disruption to these due to COVID but we managed to provide lessons for pupils regularly up to Christmas. We want to make sure we do everything we can to minimise the disruption of the current lockdown to pupils’ education so these lessons will also be moving online.
The instrument and vocal staff have been using Teams with other schools since September and are very competent in managing and delivering the lessons this way. These lessons will be slightly different from the live lessons that are being delivered by subject staff in Heworth at the moment.
One significant difference is that a supervising adult must be present at the start of the lesson and should remain nearby during the lesson. If this is a problem for the time that your child’s lesson is set, please get in touch with me via email. There is not much flexibility with lesson timings as the instrument/vocal teachers work across many schools in the week and we have an allotted time slot. However, I will do my best to accommodate any requests.
If your child does not have their instrument at home or usually borrows a school instrument, please get in touch and again I will try and find a way to resolve this.
Please read the following carefully so you understand the difference with instrumental lessons, and so that your son/daughter knows how to access the lesson and the set up required:
Lesson set up:
- An invitation to the lesson will be sent to your school email address.This will be from your instrument/vocal teacher directly. It will either be an @Gateshead.gov.uk or @Heworthgrange.org.uk email address. I will also be invited to the lesson as will Rebecca Pedlow who oversees the Gateshead instrumental staff. Either of us may pop into the lesson at some point to monitor.
- The lesson will be for the same time that you would have your lesson in school. If you have forgotten this, the information will be on the lesson invitation
- Webcams and microphones will need to be enabled so that instrument/vocal teachers can see and hear what you are playing. You should join the lesson with your mic OFF and only turn it on when asked to by the teacher.
- Make sure you are signed into Teams before you click the lesson link, just like you need to be for your normal live lessons.
- Select a suitable room to take part in your lesson. This should not be a bedroom if possible. If that is the only available space, please position the camera so that the background is neutral and suitable for a lesson.
- Make sure that external noise will not affect the lesson.
- Check the background e.g. avoid family photos etc. being in the view.
- Pupils must be dressed appropriately in daytime clothing – teachers will not deliver the lesson if a pupil is not appropriately dressed. The lesson will be stopped and school will be contacted.
- Ensure there is no bright light source behind as this makes it difficult for pupils to be seen properly.
- Ensure that you have your instrument, music and anything else you need ready before the lesson starts.
- Remember that this is still a formal lesson and not a social media interaction so pupils should speak and behave as appropriately as they would in a face to face lesson.
- If the tutor is not quite ready, just wait until they start the lesson connection – when the lesson is joined they will receive an automatic prompt that you are waiting but they may just be finishing a previous lesson.
- Pupils will need to get used to being quiet whilst a teacher is speaking or playing as the system only allows one direction of audio at any given moment.
- Lessons may still be group lessons: be aware that participants can only hear one player at a time.
- The teacher will end the lesson when they have finished teaching, and this will automatically end it for the pupil.
- If resources are needed to support the lesson, they will be emailed with the lesson link
There may be clashes between live lessons scheduled by school and the instrument/vocal lesson time. This is no different to when the lessons are held in school, so pupils should leave the live lesson and attend their instrument/vocal lesson and return to the subject lesson when they are finished – just like they do at school. Recordings are made of school based live lessons, so if you email the teacher, they will be able to provide you with a link to access this so that the 20 minutes you have missed can be caught up. Alternatively, the task missed can be completed later and returned to the teacher.
We are hoping for these lessons to begin Monday 18th January so please ask your child to check their school email for the lesson link.
Mrs C Hudson
Head of Music/Arts Faculty