Sistema Toronto students meet for daily online sessions with their Sistema teachers on their regular Sistema days (Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) to participate in group strings, choir, percussion and theory classes. Junior, Intermediate and Senior students also receive regular private lessons on violin, viola, cello or double bass with a goal of fostering student support through individual teacher outreach. Our youngest students participate in daily online Music & Movement classes where they play games and learn music basics like note reading, solfege, singing and rhythms.
While online music learning has come with challenges, like internet time lags that make orchestral playing and choral harmonies impossible, our music curriculum goals for our students have remained the same. Sistema Toronto teacher artists quickly adapted their teaching methods to find the best ways to continue supporting students in developing their musical skills. This has meant a focus on solo and duet repertoire and group class work that has fostered improved music theory skills, ear training, sight reading while encouraging creativity and self-expression in students. Activities have included creating one’s own percussion instruments with items found around the home, using online software to enhance theory classes, and composition assignments where students have composed lyrics and music for their own pieces to be shared with their online group classes.
In addition to shifting our music curriculum to learning plans that can be delivered online, we have also shifted our social curriculum to online learning. Our team has modified many of our social learning activities to address the immediate needs of our students during this crisis: self-advocacy, coping with negative emotions, problem solving, online safety, practicing self-care, effective communication skills, and more.