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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Online Teaching - the new frontier


Like many other orchestra teachers across the state, I will be teaching my orchestra classes online for the next few weeks.  There has been no shortage of information.  Companies have been sending free subscription options, facebook has blown up with ideas, emails are flooding my inbox with suggestions and resources.  The big challenge is sifting through everything and deciding what to use.  I have been trying to keep things very simple.  Here's what I'm doing...

1.  I decided to use Canvas, because that is what my district supports and uses.  I know that all of my students can already access Canvas, so I wouldn't have to worry about sending out special codes to join some other LMS.   I have never used Canvas before, but I've got enough basics down to make it work.

2.  Routine is good. My students are used to having a 'Video of the Week.'  I have posted a video in the  'discussion' tab of canvas for students to watch and comment.   I decided to post a video every couple of days.  There are some cool stories and videos coming out about music amid the current world health crises.  I just sent out this one for students to discuss...What good can I do?

3.  I got some great practice assignments from a genius orchestra colleague - Meagan Thorup.  I made a couple changes, but I think these practice assignments are a great way to start an at-home learning experience because students need to create a new routine.  Here's a link to my first assignment - day 1:

4.  Day 2 assignment - listen to new concert music.  I sent links to our new music where students can listen to the recordings, mark difficult measures in their music, and write how they feel about the new music.

5.  Day 3 assignment - Developing a practice routine:

 6.  My next assignments will be short videos of me teaching small chunks of the new music and will include specific practice assignments.


  1. Hi, Angela,
    My students were working their way through your shifting book when the shutdowns began. I would like to make some practice videos on YouTube for some of the songs for them so they can keep learning. Would you object to this? I'm not going to provide the music, and I will link your TPT site in the description.

    Thanks for your blog. It has given me so many wonderful ideas!

  2. Hi Angela,
    I teach a small string group in an Australian school, but there are restrictions about me posting with my name online (hence why anonymous).

    I love your online assignment ideas: is there a way that I can use them, with your permission, for my students in their Google classroom? How can I give you acknowledgment?

    I've been googling ideas for online music teaching today and am getting ideas together....


    1. Yes you can use them. Just click on 'File' in the google doc and 'make a copy.'