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CSO teacher profile: Alina Zamfir

Alina Zamfir

Many CSO musicians are also dedicated teachers. CSO Violist Alina Zamfir is one of many adapting to the current social distancing measures in place by moving lessons online.

Describe the transition to online teaching.

Zamfir: “As a teacher of instruments that require a lot of face-to-face / physical correction, I was apprehensive. I’m not particularly tech savvy – and the necessity of teaching online was sprung upon us so quickly. Nonetheless, I have found the technology easy to use and have tweaked my online teaching style as each student, lesson and day has passed.

“The wealth of articles, tips and tricks and conversations with colleagues has assisted greatly in making the process as foolproof and beneficial to students and parents as possible.”

Your go-to resources?

Zamfir: “There’s so much out there! Midnight Music is a fantastic resource. For me personally, talking with colleagues and being open to feedback has been the best approach.”

Any tips to help teachers, students and parents get the most out of this period?

Zamfir: “I drafted a document of ‘online lesson tips’ which I sent out to the parents of all my students, including advice to help ensure students were set up and ready to begin lessons. There was nothing revolutionary about it, but it’s the little details like having music ready that have helped with setting up lesson routines.

“From a teacher’s perspective, I’ve found that online teaching consumes more time with regards to administration. I have a copy of all the music my students are playing so that I can follow along and offer specific advice (bar numbers, specific notes, fingers, bowings, etc.). Collating this prior to a lesson and debriefing for each student adds up.

“The downside of social isolation has proven to be a bit of an upside when it comes to practice! I’ve encouraged all my students to make daily practice part of their routine (something I always encourage!). It’s been interesting to observe how the excuse of being too busy with other activities is no longer valid – the majority of my students are practising more than ever and want to continue with lessons over the holidays! I’m hoping that once this period is over, and we get back to normality, the routine of daily practice continues – not as a chore, but as a commitment to learning the instrument / music.

“For my younger students, I highly encourage parents to be on ‘stand by’ to assist with things like marking corrections into music. Having said that, it’s been interesting to see some students really take the initiative in their lessons without the assistance of their parents.

“A mutual understanding between parents, students and teachers that we are all new to this method of teaching has been very beneficial.”

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