The coronavirus epidemic and its effects brought significant changes in every field of business, music education is no exception.
Although, the private boutique international music school, Premier Music Institute has previously offered a limited amount of online music lessons, due to the COVID-19 restrictions in early March of this year they have switched completely from face-to-face lessons, concerts and examinations to digital overnight.
Led by married couple, Mr. Daniel Bolgar, and Ms. Monika Markovich, Premier Music Institute (Premier MI) located in Budapest Hungary (EU), has weathered out the COVID-19 pandemic bringing about a lot of changes in the life of this music school and according to Bolgar the institute’s founder, CEO, and drum/percussion teacher, they were happy to lead the way in the region even though they were not equipped with any plans and everything had to be improvised.
Bolgar listened to his intuition and considered it extremely important that changing to online education should not be a half-solution, nor a work-shy scheme consisting of part offline and part online classes, but instead focusing solely on real-time live Skype/Zoom sessions, where the students could log in from home regularly to their individual music lessons. For those who had an instrument at home music making went on as before the epidemic, but those who were without any instruments and were open to digital lessons, could continue their education in the form of music theory and solfege based lessons.
“By switching to online lessons, we strived to make no one feel as if they were losing out on anything, and it was also our goal to maintain our important family community spirit, where 6-year-olds to middle-aged students from all over the world could feel comfortable and in a safe space, while acquiring important skills and knowledge” said Bolgár. “We were actually surprised by how well our students coped with the situation and we witnessed incredible improvements in their skills by the end of the summer term” he added.
That’s why it was an important moment in early June 2020 (and not only in the life of the music school) when it was decided that the usual end of year concert will be held online (via Zoom). Teachers, parents, students, friends logged in from their own homes respectively and listened to the students’ musical talents.
In addition to concerts, British music examinations are held at the end of each school year, where entrants can perform their selected pieces for an accredited jury flying in from Britain. This summer, under unusual circumstances in a unique way, this was also done with the help of the Internet – that is, the video material was recorded at the music school and uploaded to the World Wide Web, with the material being sent to the examination committee.
“Compared to the circumstances, this epidemiological period has been much more successful than might have been expected, even though our income was about 35% less this term compared to the previous year” reports Bolgar about this recent period. “Without exception, our students are happy with their results and, fortunately for us happy with Premier MI also. We are proud of the fact that we did not shy away from all the challenges, given our very limited financial resources and small institute, we have tried to be innovative and pace setting, focusing on our clients. We are a micro business with no outside investment and are very happy to be 100% independent.”
About plans for the immediate future, Bolgar says that in September the institute plans to open its doors for face-to-face music lessons again for those students who wish to continue their studies personally as well as running the online music courses for those wishing to keep their lessons digital. However, if the second wave of the pandemic arrives then Bolgar and his team are prepared to start the new study year by focusing on online music lessons and exams.
Premier Music Institute is committed to student-centered education, encouraging creativity, critical thinking and effective music practice. The student can decide which style(s) of music to pursue and whether to enroll in a music exam.
For those that have more serious ambitions with music-making the institute is able to provide British, internationally accredited music examinations – they host the RSL Rockschool pop exams and also prepare students for the ABRSM classical music exams.
For a list of music courses offered and to find out more about the institute this is their website: www.premierinstitute.eu