May 15, 2020

Faculty Member and His Students Responded to Remote Learning With Aplomb

Gerardo class
Class time online for Gerardo Teissonnière and pre-college students John Phillips and Isaiah Payne. Photo courtesy of Gerardo Teissonnière.

CIM alumnus and piano faculty member Gerardo Teissonnière (BM ’85, MM ’89, Vronsky Babin) and his students encountered a few challenges during spring semester, but thanks to CIM technology, they confidently worked around it.

“Being familiar with distance learning and remote teaching throughout my career helped us tremendously,” said Teissonnière, who has taught at CIM for more than 30 years. “And my students responded incredibly, seamlessly adjusting to a new means of communication. I was happily surprised at my ability to listen to my students and work with them in great detail as well as the quality of the sound, and while on-site lessons are much preferred, my students worked hard and did very well, as usual.”

Teissonnière explained that the biggest problem he experienced was being able to demonstrate hand position from the keyboard and listen to what he termed as “nuances of color” of each lesson.

“This is obviously much better done in person, but because of our technology, we have worked around it,” Teissonnière said. “I perceived that my students missed the energy of an in-person session, but there has been little change in their productivity and work and lessons went forward almost as usual.” 

It’s been a tough task, he said, but added he has learned through the years that his nature – and the nature of the students he teaches – welcomes a challenge, has a desire to succeed and keeps the kind of positive attitude needed in times of crisis.

For Teissonnière, the pandemic has enabled him to increase his contributions to and participation in social media by posting his own performances more regularly, link to articles of interest as well as to motivational quotes from great composers – especially Beethoven – as well as his own messages and musings on the current situation.

“I think we’ve gone through a period of discovery this semester,” Teissonnière said. “This time has given me time to reflect and improve my own playing and teaching, as well as inspired me to take on new and extraordinary projects to deliver to my audiences and students.”