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COVID-19 Updates

Anxiety, Flow, and Meditation

By: Konner Scott

The act of making music- especially performing that music- can be incredibly nerve-racking. It’s easy to get up on a stage and feel that pit appear in your stomach as you stare out at the eager crowd before you. On many occasions, I’ve been in that situation and let my nerves consume me. In the words of a great poet (or something of the like), “my palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy”. I found that as someone on the more introverted side of the spectrum, I am not necessarily a natural performer and it’s far too easy for my nerves to derail my performances.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that performing music is a meditative act. I have to practice getting lost in what I’m playing. The more I can train my brain to focus on the flow of the music and not the situation as a whole, the more I’ll be able to capture the essence of the moment in my performance. This is something I’ve seen within myself time and time again: when I’m “in the zone” and single-mindedly focused on each note that’s coming out of my instrument, I can trust that the results will be something worthwhile. However, as soon as that concentration is broken, my nerves come back full force and I start missing notes (or adding too many notes).

I’ve found that this is something I can practice doing at home. For the musicians out there, how many times have you been practicing your instrument and found your mind wandering? I know that for me, I’ll be in the middle of my 15th run of a particular passage of a song, and I’ll catch myself thinking about what I’m having for dinner, or whether it’s going to rain, or even the next song I need to practice. Even at this point in my musical journey, I’ve found I only have about 20 minutes of focused practice within me before my mind starts venturing off in other directions.

In these moments of realization, I try to consciously redirect my attention to what I’m playing. The first step is an awareness that my thoughts have deviated, and then as soon as I notice this, I stop, take a breath, and pull my attention back to my instrument. I’ll start whatever song or section I’m practicing from the beginning again, and make a concentrated effort to keep my focus fully on the task in front of me.

This is the meditative part of playing music. Meditation experts will tell you that a great way to practice meditation is to train your attention on something (often the breath), and try to be aware of when you lose focus and redirect your attention. It’s much easier said than done, of course, but with consistent practice, you can improve your ability to fully immerse yourself in the moment. I’ve found practicing music to be, in many ways, an extension of this principle. The more I can train myself to keep my focus trained like a laser on the material I’m playing, the more I’ll be able to default to that state of mind during my performances. Over enough years, the work adds up, and it gets easier and easier to get on stage and lose yourself in the music!

Updated COVID-19 Mask Guidelines

Beginning TODAY our mask policy is changing to the following…

  • We ask those of you who are unvaccinated to please continue wearing your mask.
  • All vaccinated teachers at Highland Music Studio will no longer be required to wear a mask, but if you would like your teacher to do so during your lesson, just ask and they will without hesitation.
  • Parents can choose if they wish for their child to wear a mask.
  • We will continue with handwashing and sanitation as always.
  • We ask if you are under the weather to please stay home.

We still are meeting students outside for lessons until August.  We will be opening the waiting room again in August.

Voice Lessons Available In-Person

Voice lessons (and ALL lessons) are available in-person now. Voice students may remove their mask during lessons while singing.

Video Tutorial for In-Person Music Lessons

We are reopening August 10th and will have both in-person and online music lessons.  Here is a video tutorial about our new studio operations with covid-19. 

Modified Studio Operations – Reopening on August 10th

Beginning on August 10th, students will have a choice between online or in-person lessons.  Please review the below operations if you choose to come in-person:

The following rules will be STRICTLY ENFORCED as the studio will now be open with many safety precautions in place because of Covid-19.

    1. All students are required to wear masks.  Our teachers & staff will be wearing masks as well.  Please contact us if your child has any issues with wearing a mask.  Students without masks will not be permitted inside the building.  
    2. All students will have their temperature checked when they enter the building.
    3. If you or your child are sick, PLEASE DON’T COME TO THE STUDIO.  All students can switch to online lessons at any time or have makeup lessons.
    4. Parents or any guests are not allowed inside the studio.  The waiting area is closed.  Please wait in your car while your child/children are in the studio. 
    5. Drop-off and pick-up schedules are strictly followed.  Please be available to pick up your child on time.  
    6. Students have to BRING THEIR OWN MATERIALS (excluding keyboards).  This includes headphones for group piano, guitar picks, music books, tuners, pencils, erasers and any other materials that they use in their lessons.
    7. Lesson assignments will be emailed & students will use a virtual reward program called ClassDojo. There will be no physical prizes given to students.
    8. Please use the bathroom or have your child use the bathroom before coming to the studio.  THE BATHROOM INSIDE THE STUDIO IS CLOSED. 
    9. We will be following these measures to make sure our studio remains clean and sanitized:
      • All our teachers & staff will wear masks & must pass temperature checks and health scans.
      • Sanitize pianos & keyboards after each student.
      • Hand-sanitizers will be used by everyone before and after lessons.
      • Plexiglass dividers will be used in EVERY lesson room & the office.
      • Group piano classes will have pianos spread significantly more than 6 feet apart & no more than 5 students.  Plexiglass dividers will be in group piano classes.
      • All door-handles will be cleaned frequently.
      • Professional cleaning services used regularly. 

PLEASE REVIEW THESE OPERATIONS.  PLEASE REVIEW THESE OPERATIONS WITH YOUR CHILD.  THESE PRACTICES WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED.