Piano lessons continue, from a distance

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The coronavirus has brought many ordinary things to a halt: school, church, sports. But, one Bismarck family has found a way to continue their weekly piano lessons, without ever leaving their home.

Once a week, for an hour, you’ll find the Hintz girls taking virtual piano lessons.

“We take them on my mom’s computer,” explained six-year-old Ivy Hintz.

Their teacher is hundreds of miles away. But thanks to technology, they can keep learning and perfecting their favorite songs.

“I like ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ and ‘Hot Cross Buns,’” said eight-year-old Veda Hintz.

Learning and teaching this way isn’t without challenges.

“There is a huge curve. Calls you to be mindful of your communication. Are you asking things as clearly as you could? It’s very different,” said their piano teacher, Becky Poppke, who lives in the Twin Cities.

But it is a little bit of routine that these girls and their teacher have been searching for.

“I think music is really comforting during this time. It brings reassurance and comfort in a way that other things in life don’t always,” said Poppke.

Music and virtual piano lessons bring social connection.

“It’s nice to see faces other than your own and the people you are quarantined with!” laughs Poppke.

And as their bond as teacher and student grows, so do their piano skills, and their confidence. And that will last longer than any pandemic.

Veda and Ivy had been taking lessons from their grandma but had to stop because of coronavirus concerns. Their mom and Poppke are cousins. Poppke says she’s grateful for the chance to get to know her cousin’s daughters a little better.