Music Studio Survival Part I: Reimagine Your Studio | Ep 77

How To Save Your Music Studio During a Global Crisis

Your students are stuck at home; bored and restless. The parents in your studio could use your help. Seize the moment. With new challenges come new opportunities. Now is your chance to be more than just a music teaching studio. Nos is the time to focus on the mere survival of your music studio.


Have Older Students Conduct Parent Interviews

Looking for things to do while your music studio is closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak? Here are a few ideas. One consists of parent interviews. Have your students interview their parents and record the video and audio footage on their phones. Ask questions like, “what did you want to be when you grew up? If you could meet any famous person in history, who would it be? What’s a funny story about something that happened that happened to you as a kid that you’ve never told me?”


A Fun Project for Younger Kids

For younger children, have them attend a group zoom call while holding their favorite toy. Then, you can hold a mock press conference. Pretend that all of the toys are in a rock band. Have the students come up with names for their toys and the rock band. Ask the kids questions about each toy during the interview. For example, you would ask each child “what country or what planet is their toy from? What’s their favorite food? What instrument do they play? What’s their favorite song to sing? What’s their favorite color?” Have the kids review all of it before you begin recording. That should take up a good five to 10 minutes. Once you hit record, introduce the band, and then the different band members. The kids should be off-camera while they hold the toy in their hands. Ask them to move the toy whenever they’re talking.


Combine Individual Recordings Into a Song

If you have rock bands with older kids with teens and preteens, take a section of a song that you’re working on and come up with a simple chord change. Have each student record themselves on video playing this simple section of music. Have them find a metronome and play along with it. Ideally, they should use headphones so the metronome isn’t picked up on in the video. They could also just point that video camera closer to the instrument so that the metronome click is in the background. Have each kid email in their video clips and then edit and layer them so that combined they create a piece of music. You would have the sound of a full band playing, but each kid is performing separately.


Change Song Lyrics

Another idea is to take a pop song, ideally one that the kids don’t know and have them write their own lyrics. You’ll get better results by saying to them, “let’s write a sentence with a color, like ‘blue’ in it.” Then the kids share their ideas and you pick a sentence and modify it to fit over the melody. You guide the class through this process, but always giving them direction. Kids don’t do well when you try to write song lyrics with them if it’s too open-ended. Starting it off with asking, “well, what do you guys want to write about?” That doesn’t work well.


Having Students Write Songs Based on Their Ideas

Let’s say they decided they want to write about staying home for three weeks and all the fun things that they’re going to do. You then can say, “okay, what’s one fun thing that you’re doing at home now” and the kid shouts out “watch TV.” Write the lyric for them. The child will feel like it’s their song lyric since they contributed that idea, but these firm guidelines and restrictions will make the process more quickly. If it’s too open-ended, it’ll be too slow and the kids could start arguing or feeling like it’s not fair.


Group Songwriting Exercises

One thing you could do is have different groups write their own lyrics. You sing the melody to them over zoom and have the kids all sing it back to you. Then have them break into groups over zoom and come up with lyrics for the song. Set it up so that they can present it in some type of final video.  In addition, you could have one group of kids write the chorus. Take those lyrics and share it with another teacher. He’s then going to have his or her group write the verse. Then go to another teacher and share the verse and the chorus lyrics that have already been written. Have them write a second verse. Once the song is done, have one teacher record themselves singing the whole song on guitar or piano and mention the kids and other teachers who contributed to the song. Create a little slide show of all the kids who contributed while the audio of the song is playing in the background.


Adding Commercial Breaks to a Video Show

If you wanted to add commercial breaks to your video show, have the kids create them. Break the kids into groups and have them call out products around the house that they think would make a funny commercial. Help them write the script for each commercial. Follow the basic commercial format of stating a problem that the product fixes. Mention the product next and describe how it fixes that problem, and then talk about how happy everyone will be now that they have the product. Let’s say for example, a kid brings a bottle of Heinz ketchup. The problem could be bland hamburgers and hotdogs. The solution to the problem is delicious Heinz ketchup. The happy ending could be that now homemade hamburgers taste good.


Making Fun Videos and News Reports

You could also have the kids record themselves on their phones playing short snippets of music. You could do a video montage of students stating their name, the instrument that they play and then introducing their pets by name. Meanwhile, they’re making a video with their pet. You could have kids do two short news updates where they dress up in the sports jacket and tie and report on what their siblings or parents are doing around the house that day. The kids could hold up a sheet of paper to make it look like they’re reading the information off of it. You could instruct them to look for the coolest item in their home and make a short video with the item explaining what it is. Perhaps there’s some old family relic in the house that they could talk about.


Engaging Your Students

You could have everyone do this during a video group class. If you do it on zoom, you just want to make sure you record it in speaker mode so the person who’s speaking is in the featured frame. Having kids doing projects around their house during the day and then sending them in is a great way to engage all of your students.

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