The Catch up: Orange Regional Conservatorium
We check in with local arts organisations and find that technology is keeping music education well and truly going at Orange Regional Conservatorium.
This is the first of a regular series of catch ups with our local arts scene during the Covid-19 stay-at-home period. The physical doors may be closed but across the region the lights are still on an the art still happening.
James Buchanan from Orange Regional Conservatroium answered a few questions for us:
What’s the situation for your organisation right now?
Although we have had to cancel concerts and events for the foreseeable future we had great success in moving the majority of our face-to-face lessons online and even some of our groups and choirs.
The response from our students and parents has been overwhelmingly positive and it has given people stuck at home a real connection to others. We are also strongly encouraging new enrollments, now is a great time to start learning an instrument.
What are you doing or making available online?
We have 500+ students now learning online from our teachers. We are also recording lessons for ensembles and school groups and have ramped up our social media output to maintain a connection with our audience. We also live streamed the last concert we were able to hold to a great response.
Has your team discovered any new skills or strategies?
Yes, definitely. Teachers who have been teaching face-to-face for decades in some cases have now embraced online learning. We are also discovering a wealth of ideas amongst our staff for engagement programs and technology based ideas.
What programs are you looking forward to in 6 to 12 months time?
In 6 months we are hoping to be back to our 2020 Program of events. We have a full year booked up and in 6 months we will be back hosting visiting artists and a wealth of student concerts as normal.
We are hoping that the musicians we engaged for our 2020 Program that were scheduled to perform in April, May and June will be able to come back in 2021. The organisations we work with have already indicated this might be a great way to proceed.
What’s one tip for artists, students or arts lovers right now?
All musicians need to spend a lot of time at home practicing, something that was increasingly hard to find time for given the business of our lives. But now that has all changed, now we all have huge amounts of time to practice. We are telling everyone that this is their chance to get really, really good at their instruments.
What online resource have you been into or would you recommend?
Zoom has been really helpful for teaching and keeping our staff connected. We’ve found that Skype works better for certain instruments especially louder ones. Also uploading sheet music and videos to Dropbox folders for students to access is very easy.
How can people stay in touch with you?
Instagram – @orangeregionalconservatorium
IMAGE: Head of Voice Samantha Bartholomeusz teaching one of her Adult Singing Classes. The participants have found the online lessons are great way to keep connected with each other.