When I started this blog series I couldn’t have imagined that April would look quite this way. Lockdown! What an unbelievable time we are living in.
So I thought I would continue to series and then maybe update it next year. But to keep on track I will share my thoughts on a normal April and then some thoughts on the April we have ahead of us in 2020.
A normal April is always rather nice for teachers. It is only likely to be two weeks of teaching due to the Easter Break and it is also the end of term, so there are often concerts and events. In April there are several things that I like to do and I wanted to share them with you now
- Bi-Annual Concert Tour – Every other year I run a concert tour to Paris. It isn’t too formal, we mainly do open air gigs and visit Disneyland. It is loads of fun, open to all who are part of the music department and a great time away. It gives us something to work towards and is a great bonding experience for the students. If you have not run a tour before then please get in touch. I think they are great and I can’t wait for the next one in April 2021.
- End of Term concerts are so important. They are not only a good focus for everyone that are a great way of rounding off the term before the exams kick in. I like to have my Spring concert as close to the end of term as possible so that students are really focussed in rehearsals.
- Coursework deadlines are crucial in April and it is a good idea to try and get work in before the Easter Break. This gives students something to focus on and staff a chance to look over work to check for any major issues.
- Spring Clean – Also nice to end the term with a good tidy up of music, instruments and equipment in general.
This coming April is going to be far from normal. Who really knows what will be happening even in a weeks time. All I can be sure of is that we need to prepare for the unknown a little bit.
I think my first thought is that we do need to remember when the Easter Break does arrive. It would be easy to forget that we need downtime, especially as we continue to work at home. But also we need to be aware of the wider International crisis and see how we can use our time effectively.
Some staff will be required to go in to school during this break to support key worker children. I am not sure I will be doing that, so I am going to make sure I use the time I might have to do a few things:
My April 2020 plans
- Create resources that will support learning as we move forward with Lockdown
- Read, Relax & Revive
- Look for ways of supporting my neighbours, mowing front lawns etc. Obviously sticking to the social distancing rules and keeping safe and sensible.
- I am going to do some composition of my own. I always wish I had more time to create music, so I am going to create some model examples that I will then be able to use in my teaching in the future. I am thinking of making sure I have examples of – Theme & Variations, Film Music & Ground Bass.
- Spend time with my family just navigating each day one at a time. It feels rather odd at the moment and so I want to make sure I don’t work too much and look after myself and my own.
- Keep in touch with people on Video chat – so important to make time for friends and family.
- Lots of daily exercise that fits in with government guidelines.
- Online music – I want to take advantage of all this free online music that orchestras and opera houses are releasing.
April 2020 will be a good chance to plan ahead and get things sorted for the future. It is clearly very unknown what will be happening over the coming months, but at the best least we can prepare. I don’t want to get to the end of this lockdown period and not be ready. Our students are going to be desperate to get back to school and normal life. I am also going to be desperate to get back to the routine. So I am going to use April 2020 to think ahead. A few things questions spring to mind:
- Future Repertoire – I wonder what my choirs will be singing and what music I could get ready for Orchestra.
- New Schemes – what could I start teaching that I have never taught before?
- What could I change about my weekly activities – what works & what doesn’t work?
- What events can I start to plan ahead for?
- What can I read now that will be prepare me for the future – schooling could look very different?
I don’t want to over think, but I do have more time on my hands due to no rehearsals and no extra curricular activities. Even though I am teaching online, I stilll have time, so I may as well try and get ahead of things.
So here we are, April 2020, and who would have ever thought we would be locked in our houses facing this crisis. All I will end with is – stay safe and look after yourselves. It is a crazy time and we all need to be kind to ourselves and our families. We don’t really know what the future holds for schools, exams and learning in general.
But I have noticed one thing. Music is very much at the forefront of things and music is bringing people together. Whether it be singing on balconies, rehearsals on Zoom or learning on Microsoft Teams. Music is uniting people and it is exciting to see our subject coming to the rescue for so many.
So when we do go back to school, maybe, just maybe, music will become an even more important pillar in education than it is already. Maybe as teachers we will suddenly be seen in a new light after months of home schooling. Who knows, but let’s do our best to be ready for the new world that may or may not lie before us.
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