A Virtual Piano Lesson at Punahou Music School

By Brian Watanabe ’90

Six Saturdays ago, I was dropping my daughter off at Montague for piano lessons. Last Saturday, I had to duct tape an iPad to our kitchen shelf above the Lucky Charms to get the keyboard in frame for Facetime piano lessons.

Distance Learning is all teaching us something.

It’s taught me that piano, dance and third-grade writing assignments work surprisingly well through distance learning. Keeping my kindergarten son occupied without extended periods of supervision? Results may vary. It’s taught me to take a more active role in my kids’ learning. Being able to sit, focus and really listen to my daughter’s improvement as a pianist has made me feel so proud. It’s taught me patience. It’s taught me how to be a better multi-tasker. It’s taught me how much a new WiFi router costs.

But most of all, it’s taught me what a difficult job teaching is under any circumstance. I’ve been so impressed, watching Mr. Casano, Kumu Yee, Mr. A. and all of our teachers trying to connect through a screen. Their care, passion and love for our kids is clear, even on glitchy internet. In this new age of distance learning, it seems we’re all teachers, we’re all students and we’re all just trying to figure it out, duct tape and all.

Punahou Music School faculty member Steven Casano with Lea ’29 during her virtual piano lesson.

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