The best laid pandemic plans of mice and men often go awry. That goes for the plans of rising first graders too. Manhattanite Willa Beck, age 5.75 years old (Willa’s grandfather is an economist, so she already thinks in decimals), has been looking forward to her recital ever since she started taking piano lessons in September. The weekly lessons, with her piano teacher Loy, lasted 30 minutes; in addition, Willa practiced an hour or so (in energetic ten-minute spurts) every week on her own.
But in March, Willa’s in-person lessons, along with kindergarten, came to a grinding halt. With the onset of the pandemic, relatives and schoolmates were suddenly off-limits. What was a budding musician to do? Thanks to Loy’s ingenuity, Willa and her two sisters, Sienna, 7.75 years old and Olive. 4.0 years old, were able to take individual FaceTime piano lessons. With an iPad set up on a chair near the piano, Loy could guide the girls virtually while they played. Like musicians five (ten, fifteen!) times her age, Willa was determined to master her musical pieces before her upcoming recital. So each week, she regaled the family with “Little Indian Brave” and “Electric Bass.”
Finally, on August 14, the big day. Willa and her sisters dressed up for their recital, but because it is 2020, no guests arrived in person. Instead, Willa’s parents, Lisa Sachs and Matt Beck, gathered the audience virtually for the gala. Soon, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins excitedly filled the screen. How did it go? Pandemic practice makes perfect!
To memorialize the occasion, Willa has written the following exclusive essay for The Insider. What’s on the horizon for her this fall? Attending remote elementary school and taking more FaceTime piano lessons. To which we say, Brava!