The Music Department has always thrived on its public performances. From packed concerts in the Music Hall at Christmas and Easter to more intimate events in the Craig Centre and of course the epic Junior School productions in the MacRobert Hall. In addition, so much of what we do is personal and practical. Hundreds of one-to-one music lessons every week, singing and playing instruments daily in classrooms, all the choirs, bands and orchestras.

So the sudden move to offsite education and the cancellation of all public performances set us all several big challenges, neatly encapsulated in a classic song title, “How do you keep the music playing?”

Mr Haggart shared: “We had to move fast. Within days a system of Google Meets was put in place to allow individual lessons to continue online. Four Staff and eleven Visiting Music Instructors swung into action, getting to grips with unfamiliar software and working out how to transfer these most personal of lessons to a new format. It was a steep learning curve for all concerned. Meanwhile class teachers were working out how to transfer an essentially practical subject to the virtual domain, coming up with plans to keep all our pupils, and sometimes their families as well, involved in musical activities.

“As we moved onwards through lockdown, a sense of community was encouraged through various choral projects and the reinstatement of the Young Musician of the Year Final - now in a virtual format. There will, of course, be more to come. Music is one of life’s essentials and we need it now more than ever!

“So, as we move forward and our online individual lessons pass the one thousand mark, heartfelt thanks go to all the teachers in the Music Department, whether on the staff or visiting. Without your ingenuity, determination and adaptability the music might have stopped. Thank you, as well, to all our pupils and their families. The engagement, adaptability and dedication you have shown bodes very well for when we can finally get back together again.”

The feedback from families has been very supportive.

“Ms Darolti has continued to provide excellent violin lessons for Kimberley.  Ms Darolti has been cheerful and positive throughout the homeschooling sessions. Face to face lessons are preferred however the online lessons are a very good alternative.” Parent, S2

“Offsite music lessons have provided a continuity for Vaibhav with his development towards Grade 5.” Parent, P7

Varun (S4) shared: “Virtual music lessons are very beneficial as they allow me to continue to develop my skills during this difficult time.”

How do you keep the music playing?