Bored kids? Manitoba musicians, comedians and teachers come to the rescue

Click to play video: 'Technology is helping Manitobans stay connected during COVID-19 isolation'
Technology is helping Manitobans stay connected during COVID-19 isolation
Video chats and live streams are helping Manitobans connect in a time we’re being told to isolate, Global’s Malika Karim reports – Mar 19, 2020

With classes set to be cancelled for three weeks for students across Manitoba, reading, writing and math aren’t the only things going by the wayside.

A Brandon guitar teacher told 680 CJOB his music school has cancelled lessons for the forseeable future as well, but is looking to technology for a temporary solution.

Chris Nylen, owner of Faders Music, said he plans to live-stream virtual music instruction starting next week, as a way for his students — and anyone interested in learning music — to stay connected during the time off.

“We’ve talked over a few different options to see how we could do this, and we’ve decided, at least for the first couple, to use Facebook Live,” said Nylen.

“We’re going to start with beginner lessons — really rudimentary, step-one type stuff.

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“We’ll probably expand that, but we thought that would be a good place to start.”

Nylen said Faders pulled the plug on private music lessons at the store when the coronavirus pandemic started ramping up in Manitoba, and just wanted to come up with some way to stay active.

“We just thought, how can we have some continuity for our existing students, and then maybe for people who haven’t had the time or opportunity for guitar lessons but wanted to try.

“There’s been countless studies that (learning an instrument) helps with school and everything like that. It just brings a lot of joy, I think, to people’s lives.”

Nylen said the plan is to launch the first instructional video at 5:30 p.m. Monday via the Faders Music Facebook page.

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A number of Winnipeggers are also offering their services and reading to housebound kids via the Internet.

Stand-up comedian Big Daddy Tazz launched his reading project on Wednesday in an effort to lighten up a stressful situation for kids and families.

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The comic told 680 CJOB he plans to read to kids from the COVID-19-free safety of the Internet, by live-streaming reading sessions for kids to tune into at home.

“We’re all in a big bucket with a whole bunch of holes in it, and we don’t know what’s going on, and nothing seems to be sticking, so let’s make light of the situation,” he said.

“I know what it’s like to have kids at home, and to just keep them entertained.”

Award-winning Winnipeg author David A. Robertson has also taken to social media to read to children and families, taking to Twitter to share his words, joining Canadian authors from coast-to-coast.

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And it’s not all in English, either.

A French Immersion teacher on maternity leave from Ecole Varennes has found a novel way of teaching science in French for kids.

Meghan Waters told 680 CJOB she’s been posting daily videos of science experiments on YouTube.

“I’ve been kind of home regardless so this social isolation isn’t too different to me… it’s just something to keep busy when I’m home with the kiddos,” said Waters.

“I’ve started every day posting a video of me doing a different science experiment in French, so that… kids in French Immersion, specifically, can get some content in French that’s educational.

“I figured, what do I have to offer… and nerdy science videos came to mind. I already had the lab coat.”

Waters said there’s so much educational content on YouTube in English — including from popular figures like Bill Nye the Science Guy — that she just wanted an option for her students to have fun in French while they’re at home due to the pandemic.

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