Music students around the world use Microsoft Teams to find harmony and well-being during pandemic


When lockdown began last March, Joseph was sent scrambling for an alternative to in-person instruction. He had recently appeared on a Rahman-centered podcast called “I Love ARR,” hosted by an Australian friend named Chander Ramanathan, who uses Microsoft Teams for the production.

“The COVID-19 situation – boom, it hit everyone,” remembers Ramanathan. “I had a call from Alphons saying ‘Think of some options and let’s get together.’ I said there’s nothing to think about, it’s Microsoft Teams.”

The next day, the two met for a tutorial – and in no time, Joseph was confident enough to determine it was the way forward. They trained the faculty of nearly 40 people, created various channels for vocals, piano and more classes, added students as guest users, employed Microsoft Forms for evaluations and implemented it all – over a single weekend.

“Another great feature is Live Event,” says Joseph, unabashedly thrilled by the possibilities such technology has put at his fingertips.

“Recently I tried a Live Event, and more than 1,000 people attended. I was giving a starter session in music theory. Even for my existing students, I’ve been doing it as a combined session where I do Indian music and Western music. I give that free, so the Crossroads students will have an edge in that musical knowledge. For me, this platform gives me a big office in my hands.”

Chander Ramanathan, at left, helped musician and teacher Alphons Joseph, in blue jacket, start using Microsoft Teams.

A newfound confidence
All over the world, music teachers are making an impact like never before. Music students are learning to collaborate and hone their skills in ways they never imagined. And music is bringing people together, at a time when that is so very needed.

In October, Joseph launched the school’s online music learning platform, called “Crossroads eSuite,” available to students from all over the world. Using Microsoft Teams, “I’ve become much more confident with online teaching,” he says.

“We are longing to get back together, because that’s what’s really important,” says Gareth Gay. “But the technology is fascinating; it has given us a massive jolt into the future and shown us the possibilities of how it could be useful going forward.”

“At a time of crisis, music brings people together,” adds Cekmeci. “It has so many benefits.”

Rajat Agrawal also contributed to this report.

Top image:  Ceyda Cekmeci, choir director for Istanbul’s Music for Peace Foundation, rehearses with students at Tekfur Palace in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Ozan Şahin.



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