Before the world knew the word ‘coronavirus’, Taryn Wright spent her days teaching pre-school music classes and running piano lessons from her studio in Keilor Road, Niddrie.
That all changed earlier this year when the owner of Musical Interludes noticed some children were no longer turning up to class.
“I had been keeping an eye on the world news and also my attendance rate had started to drop by mid-February as peoples’ concerns over COVID rose,” she said.
Taryn quickly realised she’d have to find a new way to run classes.
“It was really stressful in the early days when it was all the unknown,” she said.
“Trying to decide on what was a safe course of action for myself, my students and my business caused a lot of anxiety.”
For Taryn, the announcement of state and federal government regulations came as a relief, with some of those tough decisions taken out of her hands.
However, social distancing guidelines meant with only three people allowed in her teaching space, group classes in person were no longer an option.
Taryn moved all her classes online and found the format worked for her business.
“It’s wonderful to watch the children engage with each other over Zoom. They wait for their friends to arrive in the class and the hellos are very cute to watch.”
Despite the online success, she is looking forward to seeing her students again in person.
“Teaching online does have some advantages, but with littlies who don’t understand that I can only see them when they’re in front of the camera, I often feel like I’m dancing to empty rooms,” Taryn said.
“I soldier on in the hope that they’re still engaging, there have definitely been some funny moments.”
While Musical Interludes has been able to go digital, the pandemic has impacted business.
“I am operating at about a quarter of my previous number of enrolments but consider myself lucky in that I’ve been able to continue operating even at a skeletal level – some businesses were not so lucky.”
Successfully applying for one of Council’s Covid-19 Recovery Grants will help the business further develop a digital presence and deliver services online.
As restrictions start to ease, Taryn is slowly looking at returning to regular classes with restricted numbers and extra cleaning in place.
A silver lining is the success of online piano lessons, which will become a permanent part of Taryn’s business going forward.
Our ‘Support Local’ series explores how Moonee Valley businesses are operating during the coronavirus pandemic. Let us know about your business by sending an email to email@example.com