An important aspect for the College of Visual and Performing Arts is its community engagement, and the School of Music Private Lessons Program is one of the foundations of that effort. The lessons are available for all ages and allow community members to experience the joy and accomplishment of gaining artistic and technical skills in music. They are also a key tool for undergraduate and graduate students to gain valuable one-on-one teaching experience during their time at UNCG.

When COVID-19 struck, the private lessons instructors and students had two choices: discontinue or, like everything else the at university, move into a new, virtual world.

Lalia Mangione ’20 MM Violin Performance, took the challenge:

“The learning curve is drastic! I had to adjust my teaching strategy and figure out what would be most accessible for my students. One on one music lessons are not usually something that work well via the online portals, and yet I think that it is very important to keep some form of consistency for the sake of my students. Even though I can’t physically be there, I am anxious to do as much as possible virtually.”

Mangione says not all of her students were willing to continue lessons virtually, but those who have, have been incredible:

“One student in particular has been going above and beyond during this time. I had decided to shorten some of the actual screen time and provide videos and other materials to practice during the week. But this student, Lauren Hines, is so dedicated. She asked to keep her sixty minute lesson on Zoom, and she is always prepared and positive. Even with all the distractions of camera placement, wifi connection, and computer glitches, Lauren never loses focus. Even so, it’s hard to gauge whether or not what I’m doing is helpful, but at least I know that we are working together.”

Then, at a the end of a recent lesson, Mangione realized that her 16-year old student had some “teacher” words for her:

“We had come to the end of our online class and Lauren said to me, ‘I don’t know if you need to hear this today or not, but you are doing a good job.'”

This story is part of our new series, CVPA Cares, in which we will feature alumni, faculty, staff and students and their acts of caring during this time of sheltering in place. If you have a story to share, please send your information to [email protected] with CVPA Cares in the subject line.