Temporary Studio Closure Due to COVID 19

Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Rylin Erickson | Uncategorized

After careful consideration I have decided to cancel classes tomorrow (Friday 3/13). While the known coronavirus presence in Sonoma county continues to be low and currently the only official recommended restriction in place involves indoor activities for folks ages 50+, reputable sources are urging immediate social distancing. This advice is convincingly backed by all available data.

We have next week off from classes for spring break anyway (this was already built into our schedule, no makeups needed), which gives us time to see where things are headed. Personally I hope the schools will decide to close temporarily instead of resuming after spring break to slow the speed at which the virus is spreading.

I will create and send pre-recorded video lessons to each Friday student (regardless of what your attendance status was for tomorrow) as soon as possible over the next few days, starting with the Little Twinklers first because their progress tends to be most affected by gaps in attendence. To help me tailor my instruction to each student's needs, the duration of the initial video(s) sent will be roughly 2/3 of your scheduled class time. Please send a short practice video back and I will then reply with personalized feedback (written, video, or both). I'm happy to go back and forth multiple times throughout the week as needed to ensure any new material or corrections are understood and progressing smoothly and will not be limiting the total amount of time spent.

If we find ourselves studying remotely for a longer period we will be using a combination of live video chat lessons/classes and pre-recorded ones. As always, I will continue to welcome short practice videos anytime -- if we all wind up spending a lot of extra time at home, students will occasionally decide to dive deep and want to send multiple videos back and forth in one day to master something. That process is very rewarding for both student and teacher so please do not hesitate to do so!

(Friday students, you received this information earlier today via email. Please send me a quick note back letting me know you got it. Thanks!)

Studio Coronavirus Policy

Saturday, February 29, 2020 by Rylin Erickson | Uncategorized

While the risk of coronavirus in Sonoma county is currently low, I think it is wise for us to have a few strategies in place. Some are all-purpose and are either already studio policy or will be so going forward; others will only impact us if we wind up experiencing school closures or quarantine.


(1) Please arrive a few minutes early to wash hands thoroughly with soap prior to every class. Try singing/thinking through "Twinkle," "Hungry Herbie Hippo," "Tweet Tweet Little Bird," or a similar beginner level song two times in a row while scrubbing to ensure effectivity. (Students arriving on time or late still need to wash their hands and will therefore miss out on class time while doing so; adjust your travel time by 5m to minimize the likelihood of that happening.) Please remind kids of all ages what proper hand washing entails and accompany younger kids to the sink each week.

(2) Make use of the "On Guard" hand sanitizers you received at your first class in September. If you joined us more recently than that, please ask for one at your next class. These are great for minimizing the need to rewash hands after minor germ exposure such as rubbing one's nose. I always have hand sanitizer available in class for student use.

(3) Stay home if you are sick! This is not a new policy but it bears reminding. Even if this particular coronavirus doesn't reach Sonoma county, no one wants to catch your garden variety cold or flu either.

(4) Remind your kids to be mindful of hygiene basics such as keeping hands out of mouths and noses, coughing or sneezing into elbow or tissue, etc.


(1) My studio will follow our local school districts and will close if schools in Santa Rosa and/or Sebastopol are closed or a quarantine is imposed. If so, all in person classes/lessons will be cancelled for the duration, to be replaced with a personalized combination of (recorded) video classes and (live) Skype one-on-ones. My colleagues in China report this has been working fairly well; kids in quarantine have an abundance of time to practice and definitely appreciate the boredom alleviation.

(2) If the May 2nd concert is affected, we will reschedule once the school closures and/or quarantine period have ended.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Audiation as the Ultimate Goal

Sunday, February 23, 2020 by Rylin Erickson | Uncategorized

At some point audiation became my primary skill-related goal as an educator. Audiation expertise was clearly a primary determining factor as to why I'd see one student inhale a piece of music in days while another grappled with it unsuccessfully for weeks or even months. I knew that instinctively from the beginning of my teaching career; what I didn't know in my early years was how best to address it. My approach, especially to beginners and transfer students, has evolved so much over the years in a large part due to my ongoing quest for effective audiation-builders. To me, Gordon's Music Learning Theory leads the pack, flanked by predecessors Dalcroze and Suzuki. This short article gives a little insight into why audiation now permeates my lessons and classes!