Just like traditional education's pivot online, performing arts classes too have taken a similar virtual route in the wake of the Covid-19. To adapt to the necessities of the time, lessons are being conducted via videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype or Meet, where learners continue to sharpen their dancing, music, and acting chops.
AHowever, for all the benefits it provides, problems are aplenty too, ranging from psychological stress to technological failures.
Famed music trainer Ustad Sanjib Dey told this writer although there are certain benefits of the traditional classes, he has developed a positive perspective on this "new normal".
For him, considering the reality of the virus, shifting to online learning seemed to be the best option out there. Moreover, guardians and students have been immensely supportive of this, which made the transition a smooth one for him and his students.
Hridvika Paul, a student of Dhaka University, said she is thoroughly enjoying the new method, other than the network interruptions that come along with remote learning. She said almost everyone attending performing arts classes online are going through issues of flaky network connection, technological glitches, and power outages.
Moumita Haque Shenjutee, another student of Dhaka University and an enlisted artist of Bangladesh Television, said of her experience of attending online classes, "I feel like a lot has changed when it comes to learning classical music in the past five months. Even though I no longer need to waste 2/3 hours on the road to go to the teacher's place, I am finding this whole online learning process to be quite emotionally draining."
"Classical music is called a "Guru-Mukhi Bidya". Earlier, we used to listen to the teacher's lessons and sing it back individually, on which we were given advice or one-on-one feedback. That's harder to do now, and there's little room for impromptu improvisation, which is another important part of learning classical music," Moumita said.
Nonetheless, in this current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, it is crucial that teachers can at least keep the lessons consistent through virtual means. Teachers, as well as students, are trying to make use of what is already available to them or whatever they have access to in the hope of keeping visual and performance arts classes going.
Besides, beyond all the features of traditional learning, the shift to online classes has opened up a new horizon for performing arts training: the internet outreach is making it possible for people living in different parts of the country to attend classes remotely, something that would be impossible in the past with in-person lessons.