When it comes to Carnatic music teaching, it should be and can be done only with a minimum number of students; it’s not feasible to accommodate several students in one group call.
In other branches, the teachers teach, and the students listen, but we need to make the students understand and repeat what we impart. So during the pandemic time lockdown, we didn’t concentrate on expanding the bandwidth as the present one was accommodative as such. Reorganizing and rearranging the groups and allotting those under different teachers were real tasks.
But we explored all online options.
We celebrated the 25th anniversary of our music school ( Hamsanadam) online over a few weeks by conducting students' performances on our YouTube channel.
One of my students was in charge of editing and uploading the concerts on YouTube. Although she was scrupulous, due to some glitch the same song got repeated 2 to 3 times in one of the concerts ; it made for some hilarious listening - it gave an impression that the artiste was rendering the same item consecutively.
Imagine if this had taken place on a sabha platform!
One of my students from the USA shared her concert in segments, to be premiered on a Sunday. My disciple who has been in charge of editing and uploading on YouTube, merged all the items in the sequence as a single video file and just before setting the Premier day and time, the video was shared with me for evaluation - when I started checking I was shocked to see many items incomplete.
Some krithis had only the Pallavi portions and some had been shared without the charanam so on . . . If I had Premiered this as it was it would been laughed at.
Though they were new to online classes, our kids got accustomed to these sessions much faster than teachers. When the teachers were on mute mode, the kids used to remind us, saying"Enna Miss mute potadhe maranduteengala…".
And it was funny to see younger siblings jump and have fun around in a room when the elder child was learning music - these were distractions during the initial stage. Thank God we didn't teach math; where you would have heard grandparents prompt answers from the side!
Much of our online classes in the past have been for students from the USA and other countries but in this lockdown period my senior students living abroad were also willing to extend their help and we got them engaged to teach our Chennai students - music teachers from USA and Australia teaching our Chennai students is something new.