Online music classes hit the right notes
THE members of Brisbane's long-running music collective Topology travel thousands of kilometres each year in the name of music education.
But the coronavirus pandemic has challenged the award-winning quintet to flex some new creative muscles.
The group has taken its Top Up music education program virtual, launching Top Up Online yesterday after a handful of successful pilot workshops over the Easter school holidays.
"We usually do everything in person because you get so much more when you can eyeball somebody," Topology's Creative Director and violinist Christa Powell said.
"We were going to do the whole online hub to expand support to regional communities and expand internationally because we have so many collaborators and artists we work with all around the world. It was part of our growing plans we had over the next four years, but when this (the pandemic) came up we went 'OK now's the time' so we brought it forward and all our staff are working on it at the moment."
Six sessions run over the Easter holidays, with participants ranging in age from 10 and up from across regional Queensland and NSW, proved Topology's collaborative approach could be adapted to an online format.
"Everyone's had Zoom parties where everyone talks all over each other, but we had two Topology artists there and one acted as a moderator to keep it all flowing," Ms Powell said.
"It worked really well and the feedback was that they felt like everybody was heard.
"The challenge is to recreate that same sort of creative intensity when we can't be in the same room together.
"Topology believes everyone is creative. It doesn't matter if you're 85 and never played an instrument, the program caters for people from no experience at all right through to people wanting to make a career out of it and beyond."
Ms Powell said the online program, which caters to both school curriculum and private lessons for individuals or groups, will continue even after social distancing measures are lifted.
"Yes we will go back to travelling, but this is not something that will just disappear," she said. "For us it's been an opportunity to get it up and running earlier and fill the demand. The most important thing is connection and staying connected with our communities."
Schools and individuals can submit an expression of interest on the Topology website.