I must say I was skeptical going into this until I watched the Skype screen enlarge an 8-year old to nearly life-size proportion as she sat comfortably at her piano. Her dad, a tech savvy parent with an ability to guide me through the basics of Skyping, was co-director with his web cam weaving around at different angles allowing me a full view of the keyboard and his daughter at any given time. Not to mention that the sounds emanating from a Heilun grand piano were robust and resonant. But where was I in the picture? From my perspective in Fresno, I was compressed in a box, while the out-of-town student was center stage taking up most of the screen. From her end of the Skype universe, I was big and she was small.
I had to pinch myself.
This couldn’t be happening unless I had driven for hours on end, hopped a plane, or took Amtrak plus a bunch of buses to the suburban part of Portland. I would have had to scope out the piano, and introduce myself to the new student.
But how did I manage to avoid all the travel and still sack out in my own warm bed by 10 p.m?
Aiden cat was initially perplexed as he viewed himself fleetingly on the i Mac computer monitor but he still got with the Skype hype as he waved to the 8-year-old. After his assortment of flirtations, he stroked a piano key hoping he’d get some long distance pets but that was out of sight.
So what was accomplished during this first virtual lesson that ran for over an hour?
The student improved her singing tone and worked on some technical problems related to the wrist. She polished her legato arpeggios and learned how to melt out cadences with a delayed wrist forward movement as applied her Chopin Waltz. As things unfolded, her playing got better and better as my ears were attuned to every note.
Frankly, I was blown away as I demonstrated a wrist forward spongy motion. Looking at myself in the box beneath the student, I was sure I was in outer space floating weightless around my space capsule. Lift-off anyone?
For certain, I could get hooked on this SKYPE thing to the point of addiction. But so what. It was better than the vile habits of smoking or drinking that destroyed people’s lives.
If everyone jumped on the SKYPE bandwagon when they felt like taking a swig, or grabbing a cancerette, they’d be giving themselves a new lease on life.
I definitely can’t wait for the next virtual piano lesson because I’m itching to go out-of-state again to get a break from the Fresno heat wave. Even if the climate changes don’t register on Skype, I can still pretend and con myself into believing that I took a long delayed vacation.
BEFORE and AFTER SKYPED LESSONS