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  • erenisevasti

Achieving your personalities potential - online

In 2007, there was a person in my life who took full advantage of YouTube and online learning from the very beginning of the application. This person would spend hours online until 3 or 4am most nights of the week. His experience centered around political discussions in chat rooms, playing games, learning from Wikipedia, and listening to and learning music. As a musician, this person delved into the rich musical landscape on YouTube, which was only then being vigorously uploaded and shared. Opera, jazz, metal, gospel, musicals, a real video recording of a young Billie Holiday and Lester Young– you name it!

At the time, I didn’t understand how he was engaging with the online medium in a way to help propel him forward in his thinking. He was being entertained, he was learning, he was listening and communicating with the medium. I didn’t understand that the books, private teachers, and tests from my undergraduate learning experiences were being replaced with time spent on the computer. I thought, “I just don’t learn that way.”

So, how did I learn? Coming from a Greek born father and a Texan mother, my upbringing leaned toward the Old World. Family, cooking, maintaining a household, church, and banking a good husband to take care of me were important features to learn at a young age. There were times when my New World mother would “rebel” from the engrained family values and get a job. She wanted to work, but the Greek grandparents forbade her to even think about it. Once they passed away and finances got a little too tight, she went to work. She still works now in her late 70’s!

All of this to say that education and learning in any medium for me took a while. There were times early in my life when I felt like I couldn’t learn like the other kids, and I thought there must be something wrong with me. I believed this for many years. Then, in the fourth grade, I got a C in science, and I was convinced. But I’ll never forget how I changed my learning for the next marking period! After a winter break, I turned that C around to a B, and ultimately to an A. This was a very important shift for my learning as a young person. But that feeling that there was something lurking in my thoughts, constantly reminding me that this stuff does not come easy for me, never really left until I was an adult. I needed a different motivator.

Fast forward to 2013, I began to use YouTube in a different way than the person I had known a couple years earlier. One time I was in a key less car and didn’t know how to turn it on – YouTube. I heard of a friend who changed the SSD drive in their computer to make it run faster and I wanted to do that, too – YouTube. I upgraded the battery as well – YouTube. I was using YouTube for D.I.Y. projects that made my life easier, and were much cheaper than bringing them to someone. I also started using the internet for music. I learned recordings of songs for church services that were not available on Spotify at the time. I was able to change keys and slow down recordings in order to transcribe and play along with songs. Today, these seem like daily conveniences, but back just 10 years ago, we were still dreaming of such technology.

For the arts, specifically singing and music, the Covid-19 pandemic hit our business especially hard. Teachers were scrambling to find an application that would serve their needs with minimal latency. Adjusting to different wi-fi speeds while teaching singing can be trying at times. For some students, learning how to sing via an online platform proved beneficial. For others, it was stifling.

I look forward to understanding more about learning and teaching music and other subjects online. I hope to understand too how my students learn in order to assist their learning better.

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