Sunday 26 April 2020

Sunday 26th April - Nearly another week

And how time does fly...

It seems that my extended 'holiday' is over; and I'm getting a real taste of 'working from home', which is what other members of my family have been doing all along. Did they get a long weekend over Easter, or just keep going, through the Bank Holidays, I wonder? As I have been freelance piano teaching for so long, I find it impossible to separate out 'work time' and 'non-work' time. There has always been 'teaching time', 'travelling between schools time' and then hours of admin as a consequence of teaching, all done 'as and when'.

Last week I taught zoom piano lessons on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. That part of my decision-making about which days I would work and which I would not, went well. Then came 'how many lessons a day?. In 'normal times', this could be anything up to 12, starting around 9 or 9.30, and finishing around 6 or 6.30, with longer or shorter gaps between schools and home.

Zoom lessons are another kettle of fish - for a start a 30 minute lesson uses up 45 minutes of time, geting the connection sorted out, finding music, arranging the tablets or computers or phones, and the actual lesson is very distracted; glitches in the conversations and piano playing require more concentration, and it is harder to get things across. I decided on a maximum of four lessons per day, so I am quite pleased to have kept it down to five a day so far.

Each lesson then generates another load of activity - emails to set up the next lesson (I know you can schedule repeat 'meetings' but the parents are still finding their way through the home school schedules), and detailed 'lesson notes', as the students haven't yet mastered the art of making their own notes - that will definitely be a teaching point in the near future - and then checking that the payments have come through. Then I need to write up my own notes and keep a tally for income tax purposes next April. Finally, I need to tidy up! After a day of teaching there is music everywhere! Three days of zoom piano teaching is plenty at the moment.

After the peace and quiet of the previous few weeks it felt as I had gone from this;

to something more like this!
That's work... but also I have been on three outings since Tuesday.

Our house backs on to a network of cycle tracks and footpaths through woodland and a golf course. Well, we've been waking up ridiculously early these past few days. I suspect it's because quite a few neighbours are on shift work. On Friday we looked at each other at 5.30 am, made the decision and were out on a walk by 6am! Unheard of!

But it was a really good idea. We managed to force our way through the 'shrubbery' - ie laurels gone wild - that conceals our back gate and emerge into the early sunlight. There were very few people around, so keeping 2m away from people was not a problem, even at 'pinch points' like the bridges over the stream. We didn't go far, just 'there and back' and home for breakfast.

I don't know how many times you have to go out to make it a habit. Saturday morning dawned dull and uninviting, but brightened up into 'Summer' by the afternoon. Himself usually route marches round to the post box every day with a card for a housebound friend, but this I time went too. It was the usual intricate game of gently swerving to avoid other people out enjoying the sunshine - like one of those milder computer games where you try not to crash into obstacles. I was delighted to see this  just near the corner shop;

Morning constitutionals were not possible this morning, as there was zoom church and I was playing one of the songs so couldn't be late for church today (How Deep the Father's Love). After lunch however, instead of posting the card, I printed off a free Johanna Basford colouring book which you can get from her website here  Just click on the picture (on HER page, not mine!)

We then walked round to the address where I send the cards; she's a good friend in her 80s, but not a computer using so it is phone, text or letter to contact her. But she only lives a mile away - further thanI like to walk when it is cold and dreary, but today was great - warm, sunny... So, with Himself scouting the way ahead to warn of obstancles on the form of walkers, joggers and cyclists so that I could give everyone a wide berth, we enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon.

The Johanna Basford drawings are all rather whimsical, but I find them useful for ideas. I took these photographs of a tree ready to be copied and embellished

and this pattern of leaves, maybe for the embellishments - who knows.

That's three times in a row we have gone out for a walk...

And it has made me Very Hungry for my supper!


  1. My husband is about to do his first Zoom Cello lesson tomrrow. I can't think of anything worse! My friend, a piano teacher, said it took 20 minutes to get a pupil to realise she was playing a wrong note!
    I've found doing blog post lessons SOOOOOO time consuming! Hours and hours to get it done and written up and I have no idea if they are even doing the lessons!
    Glad you've managed to have solitary walks! It's been ok here too!
    How deep the Father's love is my favourite worship song!

  2. Zoom lessons are a bit of a 'dark art'. I was teaching a very bright 6-year-old - Bach Musette in D - and managed to get her to find the place in the fourth line where she was missing out C# and also the tied D. That was quite an achievement for her, I thought. But then, horrors, she started at the beginning of the piece, and 'zoom' gave her sound the precedence over my voice, so there was nothing I could do but listen through three and a half lines of music before we reached the bar that needed correcting! But she played it right. I used the time taking my copy of her music and highlighting with green pen the exact place I wanted her to start from - once she had stopped I could hold it up - voila - solved!

    It does take HOURS to type into words what one can easily say. Partly, of course, because there are no typos, no corrections for punctuation, and verbal errors can be corrected at once.

    How deep the Father's love is one of my Least favourite worship songs! But I am slowly coming to terms with the words, which I find very challenging. The tune is fine!