An in-school songwriting program developed by Langley musician Laura Koch – one-half of The Kwerks duo with her husband Ryan – is moving online amid COVID-19 closures.
Koch had previously offered Snap-Tunes, a three week course where elementary students get the chance to shout out song ideas and build the lyrics as a group.
Students would end up with an mp3 file with their song edited all together – made up of their own claps, snaps, and backing vocals.
Now, with class no longer in session, Koch said within the turbulent times, she is seeing a number of community members who are coming up with some new unique ways to engage kids online.
“I have found the whole experience to be surreal, as I’m sure everyone has,” she said about the pandemic. “I have gone through moments of being scared, of being hopeful, of being shocked, and being stressed. Of course, I am a small business owner so this impacts my work in a big way.”
After seeing a video of a high school chamber choir singing from their own homes, Koch asked herself “what if I could use technology to make songwriting still happen?”
“I am about to launch a daily – or close to daily – songwriting video series for kids to watch how I write fun little songs based on their suggestions for topics,” Koch explained.
At the cusp of launching the new program, Koch said she’ll go live on Tuesday, March 24, to write songs in real time – hopefully with a few participants helping the the creative process.
“I also don’t expect it will be only kids,” Koch added. “I think it would be an interesting thing for many people to watch a song being written, to play a part in the creative process”
Other ideas she has for after spring break are to do live zoom meetings during in which Koch leads a songwriting session.
Koch is not the only one moving programs online during recent orders to social distance and stay at home either.
“We start with a magic trick performed by my son,” Abbot said. “Then we do breathing techniques to help calm ourselves as well as various poses, followed by dancing and stomping to get the body moving.”
Abbot said kids get anxious and worried and stressed and these feelings get in their bodies, which is why her classes – lasting around 20 minutes – also end with a relaxation period.
“In my experience, kids and enjoy yoga and anything I can do to brighten someone’s day makes me feel warm,” Abbot added.
The online offerings don’t stop with Koch and Abbot either. Koch said a Walnut Grove teacher is starting a podcast for house-bound kids to be able to have some kind of story time and activity throughout their day.
Another Langley teacher is starting up a facebook page all about place-based activities in Fort Langley; educational and fun things people can do at home or in their neighbourhood while in social isolation.
“As kids are isolated at home, many of them are likely a bit bored, and struggling to figure out just what to do with their days. My hope is that this sparks creativity,” Koch added. “I also hope to empower kids to find their voice in all this. Music is a communication outlet, after all, and can be a way for kids to put their feelings into words. This can be really cathartic.”
Online Snap-Tunes classes are available on Koch’s Facebook page.
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