In the wake of school closures and social distancing measures, educators from all over the world have moved to online teaching. They have rallied together to support, guide, and provide resources to those who are new to online teaching and learning.

The faculty at the Des Moines Symphony Academy are no exception. They have been working tirelessly to continue teaching all types of music lessons and to keep those lessons enjoyable, productive, and accessible to families throughout this time. Academy faculty members encourage hard work and daily practicing through creative ideas like sticker charts for younger students that are visible during the students' lessons so they can see their progress.

Beginning Strings Students and faculty member Marissa Ferro show off their bow holds
Photo: Beginning Strings Students and faculty member Marissa Ferro show off their bow holds

Through technologies such as Zoom, Facetime, and Skype, faculty members have been able to continue private and group lessons with students who have access to instruments at home. These technologies present new and exciting possibilities for the students, including the much-coveted opportunity to finally show teachers their pet, favorite stuffed animal, and where they practice; things they would otherwise excitedly share with their teachers on their way into a lesson, but can now show them through video. Creative faculty members have also problem-solved to help ensure families have the tools they need for their lessons, including using household items like wooden spoons as rhythm sticks or turned-over bowls as drums to practice rhythms.

Marissa Ferro, violin, viola and beginning strings instructor, enjoys the ability to connect virtually with her students. "So many people are working hard to make the best of this situation, and I really do look forward to all my online lessons and classes as a much needed escape from all that's happening around us," said Marissa. "Even though it's not in person, I love being able to connect and learn with all my students!"

"It’s been different and we’ve had a few challenges, but we’ve had lots of fun overall and I’ve noticed that this online format requires all of us to be more intentional with how we listen and respond," said Renee Brechtel, violin and beginning strings instructor. "Though I can’t wait to see all my students in person again, I’m so glad we can still see each other each week and connect for a few moments with a familiar face amidst all that’s going on in the world outside!”

"The most important thing in life is to do what you love! I love teaching and I am so grateful that I am still able to see and teach my students! Thank you to Des Moines Symphony Academy for providing us this opportunity to teach online."

Madina Akhatova, violin and beginning strings instructor

It is an essential part of the Academy’s mission to maintain a high quality of music education for our community. Despite these unusual circumstances and the challenges we are all facing, we are thrilled to be able to continue music education through these new and exciting methods in order to provide a sense of normalcy and continuity for our students.

Support from our donors is essential in keeping our "digital" doors open. Gifts of any size allow us to continue supporting both our students and faculty by offering and expanding these new methods of learning. Click here to make a gift to the Academy today.