By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Westborough – New England Music Academy (NEMA) has not let the COVID-19 pandemic keep students from the fun of learning music. Quite the contrary. As soon as Gov. Charlie Baker issued the State of Emergency, they were ready to pivot to an online teaching platform. One week they were holding lessons as usual, the very next week they were fully online according to Deanna Wong, the school’s founder and executive director.
“The world was in COVID chaos. We transitioned to fully remote learning over the weekend and just kept teaching. Music lessons became this little slice of normal for all of us,” she said. “We were gathering, learning music and having fun all online. When schools and other activities were shutting down, our students could count on seeing their [NEMA] teacher each week.”
“It was wonderful to see students and teachers embrace on-line learning,” she added. “The transition to secure, customized, online learning has kept things normal during the pandemic. I am honored to be a part of such an elite team of dedicated teachers and staff that pushed through to help our students thrive in challenging times.”
Later in the spring, NEMA had formal performances and graduations – all on Zoom.
Families have been supportive of the school’s online lessons and have sent many positive emails. One parent wrote: “…We are overwhelmed with how dedicated you have been to keeping things normal…”
“Parents want fun and engaging music lessons. The problem is, not every great musician is a great teacher. Students can take lessons for years and never learn to read music.,” Wong said. “We believe it shouldn’t be that way. Parents want more for their kids.”
NEMA isn’t afraid to break tradition.
“We believe kindergarteners can learn the fundamentals of music theory. They can do it – we’ve proven it time and time again over 15 years,” Wong explained. “Our Beginner Music Classes teach early elementary students to read music in a fun, age- appropriate, noncompetitive way that draws them into the learning process.
“So that in their later elementary years, when they get to band, orchestra or private instrumental study, they already know how to read music. They have this amazing head start! All they need to learn is where the notes are on the instrument in their hand. This makes learning an instrument feel so easy.”
Online learning will always be a choice for NEMA students, she added. Families will always be able to choose to learn from wherever they are. They will have more flexibility than ever before.
“We are really excited about all the opportunities that the online platform has opened up for our students,” Wong noted.
And what about this fall?
“We have listened to our parents, teachers and staff and we’ve consulted with an infectious disease physician. We know exactly what to do to safely return to in person lessons. In the meantime, we’ve decided to take a conservative approach and wait a little bit before returning to the music room,” she said.
Wong has high praise for her teachers and staff.
“Our front desk and teaching staff bring 110 percent to everything they do. They are the reason why our families and students love learning at our school,” she said. “I am honored to be surrounded by the amazing talent and dedication of our teachers and staff.”
To learn more, visit www.nemusicacademy.com or call 508-898-3888. The music studio is located at 30 Lyman St., Suite 50, Westborough.