We asked the internationally renowned pianist Marija Aupy for an interview and were very excited that the founder of the Marija Aupy Piano School had time for us. As a classically trained pianist, the transition to online lessons was difficult. But she stayed open-minded and was pleasantly surprised by the new learning opportunities for her students. In the interview, she shared the emerging creative projects and the new teaching opportunities that have opened up.
What was the biggest change for you switching to online lessons?
Marija: “We did not expect to switch online so suddenly, so we were not prepared, and the biggest change for me is that all your marks and habits disappeared so that everything had to be reinvented, reorganized, rethought. From that point of view, I felt just like at the beginning of my career, like doing my first lessons.
I had to learn how to be a teacher, and two years ago, I learned how to be an online teacher. That was the biggest change. Everything was new and had to go through the adaptation period, I think that was the biggest change.”
Did you have to change your teaching methods?
Marija: “I now know that if we do a face-to-face lesson, I would probably go for new pieces and take time to discover the text to analyze the rhythm to find good fingerings or simply find the right place on the piano because the small ones would know which octave would be the right.
So things like this or doing four hands or using the space to work on rhythm these are the things that I would keep for face-to-face lessons, and if we are online, I would much rather go for the interpretation talk about colors, and doozzoo is good for that because the sound is so good that you can talk about colors talk about phrasing talk about the interpretation or the style.
Those are the things that work well over distance. I would do different things if we’re online or face to face.”
Which advantages do you see now in online lessons?
Marija: “I think the biggest advantage at the beginning was that we could continue. That was wonderful, but today I would say that it just brings flexibility. Many of our lessons today wouldn’t do because we couldn’t do the face-to-face model. Like in many situations when the student is away or not feeling very well or like: “Excuse me, my garage door is frozen. I can’t go out.” Let’s just switch and connect and do the lesson.
So this kind of flexibility is really a good thing, and we can combine now and go for really a hybrid teaching. So all the situations where we couldn’t work, we actually can because we have the online possibility.”
You talked about hybrid teaching. How do you integrate digital tools in face-to-face lessons?
Marija: “I would use different apps for reading, for ear training or rhythm training. Very simply, sometimes, just discovering the repertoire or listening to different interpretations and comparing them. It boosts really. It’s something that brings a little change and something fresh. So in face face-to-face lessons, different apps I use them more and more.”
You shared that you like the sound quality of doozzoo. Did you also have some other experiences?
Marija: “I used to use different platforms, and I was happy to have something, but it was quite tiring to always try to hear, and then you can’t hear because the sound would disappear. Sometimes I would just go and try to understand or just to look and see what my pupils are playing, but I couldn’t hear them really. So it was not very comfortable and so as the only tool it was good to have something, anything, but since I used doozzoo, I never had sound problems, and you really have a very beautiful sound.
You can really talk about details and colors, it’s very comfortable. It really feels like you’re in the same room which is quite incredible and when you say it usually people are skeptical about it. I really think everybody should give it a try once and see. It’s a very comfortable feeling and very nice to do music through doozzoo.
I like about doozzoo the fact that it was created by musicians for musicians and feels like we are like a big family and being part of the world community.”
Your advice for teacher colleagues?
Marija: “Well, I think that we really don’t have the choice anymore. I think that it’s here to stay. Maybe we thought that it’s a period, that we are going to use online teaching, and then we would just go back to the old days. But it’s not only about teaching or music, it’s a global thing. I think that before was before and what is in front of us it’s a different thing. This hybrid teaching, I think it’s the future of our music education. And I think it’s really something that we’re going to continue using.”