The first week of summer lessons…July 6th, 2020…students started to return to in-studio lessons for the first time since mid-March.  What joy for both students, parents, and for me!  We set up protocols:  We all wear masks.  We wash our hands with disinfectant coming and going.  I’m teaching the “Coronavirus Etude” by Jeff DePaoli as a fun way to warm up and actually have each student clean their piano!  I stay on my side of the room at my piano.  The students use the left side of the studio and that piano stays as the “student” piano.  Parents wait in their cars and only 1 student at a time comes into the studio.  I’m spacing out lessons with five-minute breaks so that I can clean doorknobs, stair rails, piano bench, etc.  I found myself today using a kind of amalgam of teaching styles combining online patterns with studio tools.  Students write in their own piano notebooks.  They now bring their own pens, pencils, and colored highlighters.  We still count in measure numbers.  Students draw their own stars on their music pages.  I draw out more complicated things on my own whiteboard and take a photo and send it home to print out.  I truly was able to stay on “my” side of the studio…it is not 6 feet apart but almost.  While the COVID numbers in MA are still steadily declining, we are using this in-studio time to play duets and record…things we can’t do online.  But when students are reading new music, I am finding that I’m incorporating more ear training and solfege…tools that I added to online lessons but now are continuing in the studio.  The first thing that I have been doing with all my students, is to remove my mask for a second and show them I am still smiling even though they can’t see the lower part of my face.  Sweet second grade Gracie…responded by saying, “But Teacher Penny, I can see that your eyes are smiling”!  And so begins a new normal, for as long as it can last.