In March, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 all in-person music lessons stopped as we received stay at home orders from public health officials. Music teachers across the globe who had the wherewithal scrambled and moved their lessons online. Almost overnight the music teaching industry was online. The assimilation of the in-person music lesson to online was absolute.
Months later we are still providing online lessons. Teachers and students and have grown accustomed to online music lessons. This mode of instruction is effective and its convenience is very appealing . The public health crisis has abated to a large degree and our economy is reopening. We can now return to in-person lessons. However, many students are choosing to stay with their online lessons. As you will see the shift from in-person music lessons to online is widespread and ultimately inevitable.
The Royal Conservatory of Music
Music Without Boundaries is a new program developed by the Royal Conservatory of Music which offers for the first time in history remote (online) examinations. It is now possible to complete your practical (instrumental) and theory (written) requirements in your own practice space, on your own instrument, at your own pace, with no travel time.
Dr. Peter Simon, President & CEO of The Royal Conservatory of Music explained to CTV’s Your Morning, “We developed a program to have music exams online and are the only ones in the world to do this on such a large scale.” He went on to say referring to the COVID-19 crisis “We believe it is essential for music study and music making to continue and want children at home to have avenues for self-expression and to have some fun!” .
This program was already under development but went into overdrive in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is now a permanent offering.
People who live in rural communities have always been at a disadvantage when it comes to music lessons. In rural communities, it is often difficult if not impossible to find a qualified and experienced music teacher. A long drive to the nearest city for a music lesson is often not feasible. Online lessons and examinations completely eliminates this problem. Yet, many rural communities lack internet access with adequate bandwidth. Fortunately, as outlined below, solutions to this problem are in the works.
Universal High-Speed Internet for Every Canadian
In Budget 2019, the Government announced its commitment to set a national target, in which 95 per cent of Canadian homes and businesses will have access to internet speeds of at least 50/10 Mbps by 2026 and 100 per cent by 2030, no matter where they are located in the country. This is an impressive initiative by the federal government that will amount to an investment of 5 to 6 billion dollars over a period of 10 years.
The Starlink satellite constellation could provide service to Canada and northern US as early as winter 2020.With performance that far surpasses that of traditional satellite internet, and a global network unbounded by ground infrastructure limitations, Starlink will deliver high speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable, expensive, or completely unavailable.
5G Mobile Network
The emerging 5G mobile network promises to radically change many aspects of our lives and music education is no exception. 5G is a high bandwidth and low latency system. The download speed is a whopping 10-50 Gbps and the latency is about 1 millisecond. Due to the high bandwidth, the new networks will not just serve cellphones like existing cellular networks, but will function as general internet service providers for laptops and desktop computers. 5G enables exciting new technologies such as remote robotic assisted surgeries and self-driving cars.
This technology will revolutionize music education. We will experience a completely seamless internet connection with imperviable lag time. It is like the person is in the same room!. We will have the ability to remotely connect with a student, colleague or friend and teach, rehearse and jam without any hindrance. This powerful technology is destined to became popular mode of engaging in music lessons.