Lessons Learned From Lessons Given

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Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, harpist Dr. Rachel Brandwein is on faculty at St. Olaf College, Luther College, and St. John’s University. She enjoys writing solo and chamber music, concertizing, and tackling home projects.

How online teaching helps offline learning

—by Rachel Brandwein

My college student arrived at her lesson with a smile on her face, ready to learn. We chatted a bit about her week. She is a nursing major studying harp as a non-major and this was a particularly challenging time. She set her music up, played a bit, and I stopped her. “A lot of harpists struggle with this fingering pattern. Let me demonstrate measure ten for you,” I said as I awkwardly jimmied my music stand around the harp while trying not to drop the iPad on my foot and dump music on the floor.

I’ve taught harp online periodically since 2015. When COVID-19 hit, all of my college and private teaching, faculty meetings, and musical society meetings went digital as well. I miss seeing my students in person, but I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to stay connected and teach online.

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