October 2, 2020
Before the COVID-19 crisis, YMF was serving nearly 5,000 underserved students on a weekly basis – Kindergarten to Adult – providing tuition-free music education to 27 partner schools and sites across Los Angeles. Our 30 Teaching Artists were delivering nearly 150 hours a week of music instruction each week across a service area of more than 150 square miles.
Then came COVID. As the public health crisis turned into a pandemic, our school and site partners began suspending in-class programming. By Friday, March 13, all YMF programming was suspended as well, including our Community Music Academy, our free of charge education program, held at our facility on Saturdays.
We pivoted quickly, activating our office staff to train Teaching Artists in online content development utilizing Google Sites. Within two weeks, over 150 individually created lessons were posted, organized by school site and individual classroom. As of this writing, we have posted nearly 400 unique lessons.
Many of our school site partners opted in to continue remote instruction through our Online Music Academy platform and integrated it into their distance learning curricula for the remainder of the academic year.
As we begin this academic year, only thing certain is uncertainty. Indicators point to modified school schedules, smaller class sizes to maintain social distancing, and a hybrid structure of in-class and distance learning. YMF’s Online Music Academy allows us to continue bringing music instruction and programming to our students, while also providing an opportunity for our team of dedicated Teaching Artists to continue earning an income.
Our online platform gives us the flexibility to respond to whichever model our school site partners choose to employ, and will allow us to continue providing access to high-quality, engaging, and culturally responsive music instruction to those who wouldn’t have the opportunity otherwise.