My name is Brooke Beazley, and I am the Program Director for SWAN4Kids. I have the pleasure of greeting our students and monitoring their online private lessons each week. Some of our students began online lessons during the summer of 2020 when we were unable to hold our summer music camp. Other students began their lessons this fall as the schools were unable to open, preventing SWAN from holding our weekly group lessons. Online music lessons can present challenges, but students and teachers have learned to adjust. Our students continue to enjoy the time they spend learning to play their instrument or using proper vocal technique. When I hear students say at the end of their lessons, “Our lesson is over already?” I know they are so completely absorbed in their learning.

I’ve witnessed incredible personal growth as students faithfully take on the responsibility of attending lessons, carefully listen to their teacher’s instructions and follow directions. I know students are paying attention because of the thoughtful questions they ask to contextualize what they are learning. Having one-on-one instruction with a kind and experienced music teacher provides our students with a positive and trusted role model, thus allowing the learning process to flow without distraction from other students. 

Students are discovering how to speak the universal language of music. Some are using the knowledge and skills they have acquired in order to compose their own music. The teachers and I are always thrilled when students excitedly present their original works.

Our students are listening more and discovering music with brand new ears. They seek out what they want to learn, bring the songs to their lesson, and ask for help from their teachers. When students are self-motivated, they learn faster and internalize the knowledge and skills that they are using.

Not every lesson starts on a positive note. Occasionally students come to lessons distracted or not feeling  well. The teacher and I encourage the student to stick it out if they can. Students often discover that focusing on music improves their mood and they always leave the lesson feeling better. Music truly is therapeutic.

I look forward to the day when I can see our students in person and attend their performances. My communication with the administrators from the School District of Lancaster is ongoing and my hope is that we can resume in-person music lessons in the near future.