Like most students, 17-year-old Emmit Fitzgerald was not too eager to leave behind his everyday routine and partake in his daily activities from his computer. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Emmit’s routine consisted of attending classes at Lower Moreland High School, engaging in after-school activities, hanging out with friends, and studying piano at Settlement Music School.
Emmit joined the Settlement family back in October 2019 after taking piano lessons with a family friend for eight years. He currently studies with Sandra Carlock. When Settlement shifted to online lessons in March, Sandra encouraged Emmit to continue lessons online in order to continue improving his piano skills.
The decision to continue taking lessons online proved to be beneficial, as Emmit says he finds himself improving at the same rate as he would if lessons were in person. Not only is he able to keep improving, but his lessons also give him something to focus on and look forward to each week. His lessons also provide some structure to his week—something that most people are seeking out during the pandemic.
Emmit had started studying piano because he sought a pastime that would be both fun and beneficial for his future. He believes, “If you want to have a skill and be good at something, you have to be willing to put in the hours.” By continuing to study via Microsoft Teams, he is able to continue to perfect his craft.
While things might not look the same way they did nine months ago, Emmit has since adapted to “the new normal.” He continues to talk to friends online, play chess, and attend Lower Moreland for his senior year of high school a few days a week. Most importantly, however, he is able to continue to grow as a musician. He credits both Settlement Music School and Sandra for the way in which they were able to switch to online lessons with great ease. “It was an amazing transition,” he says.