For musicians like Ingrid Mapson, COVID-19 has largely curtailed traditional chances to practice and teach music but it’s opened up a whole new set of opportunities online.
Originally from Vancouver, Mapson has lived in the 100 Mile area for many years with her four children and husband where she established herself as musician and music tutor. Mapson said she came to 100 Mile House because of its relative proximity to Vancouver, where her extended family still lives, and the easy access to the outdoors.
A lifelong musician, typically, Mapson teaches music from her studio in town and performs live but COVID-19 has made her, like us all, adapt to the new reality. Being in 100 Mile’s relative isolation, she said, has made her feel much safer going through the pandemic, though that doesn’t mean she feels we should let our collective guard down.
“I was teaching lessons (in person) and all of a sudden that stops so I had to switch to video lessons, I can also do just a phone lesson but video is better,” Mapson said. “I’m actually finding that it works very well because nobody has to travel, they just turn on the screen and there we are.”
Mapson said the video lessons also promote the development of a little independence on the part of her students when it comes to developing their own ear for music, as she’s not there in person to guide them. While some of her students chose to wait until they could resume in-person lessons, Mapson also gained several new students who found the video calling lessons a convenient thing to do during the lockdown.
So far she’s been using her laptop and a webcam along with Zoom primarily to teach lessons but has also used Skype and Facebook Messenger. She’ll use the laptop camera for her face and switch to the webcam when playing an instrument to demonstrate techniques.
Overall, she can’t believe how well the new format has been going and how much both she and her students have been enjoying the experience and been able to connect despite the distance. Mapson said she intends to offer online lessons forever now because of the convenience, should her students wish to. She offers instructions on piano, drama, flute, music appreciation, singing and music-related art and is willing to do lessons in person, should it be ok with Dr Bonnie Henry.
“I like to follow the student’s passion and I like to be open if they want to compose, play by ear or play by music, preferably both, but I’m flexible and like to know what they play,” Mapson said.
Those looking to sign up for a class with Mapson can call 250-395-1299 or look her up on Facebook, with both adults and children welcome.
In addition to teaching, Mapson has also been experimenting with performing music in the online space as performing music is truly her passion. Typically her favourite way to perform is by singing with an orchestra due to the feeling of having that much sound behind her giving her wings.
She also enjoys getting the chance to travel and perform music at the same time something she obviously can’t do currently, though she was able to perform in Argentina with a Latin Jazz band prior to the pandemic. When musicians and performers began to collaborate online via video calls, Mapson saw it as an opportunity not only perform musically but connect with her fellow musicians in other countries.
“It’s an opportunity to connect work with people around the world, to connect with new people, I love connecting with new people,” Mapson said. “I find that musicians, we’re passionate about what we do and we all love what we’re doing.”
Mapson is currently in the process of putting together a duet video with an orchestra singer from Alberta and has already done another online duet of Nobody Does it Better with a pianist from the University of California. The collaboration she’s most proud of is a rendition of My Way with a conductor from London, England and musicians from Mexico, Poland, Japan, Peru, New York and London.
“What I’m finding is there’s a lot of global solidarity here, people are really encouraging each other during the pandemic and musicians, what our role during the pandemic is we’ve been finding is to give people something uplifting,” Mapson said.