Covid-19: music and dance schools are adapting



The cultural association of L’Aubrière in Fondettes, a small town on the outskirts of Tours, has found a semblance of normal life. On this Wednesday in January, the notes resonate behind the walls of this vast set of longères, open to the town’s market halls, in a studious atmosphere.

In a hurry, Alexandre Luquet, the guitar teacher, joins his students in his small classroom. The apprentice guitarists will march in front of him from 9:30 am to 5:50 pm But the implementation of the advanced curfew has, once again, upset his organization. Showing flexibility, he will stay on site for two more hours, during which he will give his last lessons behind his screen.

“In order for everyone to benefit from face-to-face teaching, some of my colleagues have agreed to come on Saturdays but, for my part, this is impossible for me because these slots are already reserved for other students elsewhere”, he regrets.

Teacher engagement resulted in students

Committed to ensuring educational continuity, he has developed monitoring tools, creating a YouTube channel in March 2020. In this regard, it has equipped itself, on its own funds, with an efficient microphone so that its subscribers can listen to its recordings in good conditions.

With his ensemble of guitars, he has also embarked on a remote orchestral project. All these attentions kept the flame of his students. Very few of them dropped out. Alexandre Luquet is even surprised, “Taking into account the context, the good general level, beginners and toddlers”.

Creative and enthusiastic teachers “Never let go of their students despite their difficulties in projecting themselves” observes, admiringly, Marie Delaval, coordinator of this music school, which has 140 children enrolled in instrument lessons. At the regional conservatory of Tours, the director Victoria Ducret-Pottiez also reports “Tangible progress”. More autonomous thanks to distance learning courses, the students sought “To be seen by their teacher in their best light”.

Difficulties in following the evolution of government directives in real time

Like most music and dance schools in Center-Val de Loire, the conservatory waited until January 4 to reopen its doors to its students enrolled in individual and group lessons, with the exception of the choir and orchestra. symphonic. Despite the decree published on the night of December 22 – immediately applicable – which authorized the structures to once again welcome the under 18s, Victoria Ducret-Pottiez did not rush: “We just weren’t ready” sighs the director, anxious then not to “Break the organization, fragile and trying for the teams, a few days before Christmas”.

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The specificities of this public establishment do not simplify its task. Here, half of the staff – more than 700 students enrolled in classes with flexible hours, in cycle 3, in pre-professionalization classes – continued to receive their artistic lessons (music and dance) between November and the end of December.

For all others – students registered outside school time – resumption of lessons “Face-to-face with their teachers” has been fully appreciated: “What they gained in autonomy, they had also lost in proximity. This explains why, from a distance, we are insufficiently working on the quality of the sound reproduction. “

Dancing, complicated from a distance

The practice of dance encountered similar difficulties. Video conferencing learning has not been as successful as it is with music. “Not everyone has the necessary space or a bar at home”, she continues.

This is why, during the Christmas holidays, Corinne Faradji, director and dance teacher at Studio Arabesque in Tours, took some time off to offer her volunteer students remedial sessions, compensating for the weeks of closure. Marie, 9, took advantage of this ” luck “ to put on his leotard and slippers. Very diligent since she started this activity five years ago, the young dancer had – like many others – given up from the first video lesson.

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