The music plays on – remotely

Learning the piano at a distance

One of the few benefits of the times we are living through is the emergence of creative thinking and Marian Ham, a retired head teacher from Playden, who studied music as her main subject during teacher training, was worried about the challenges that children and parents would be facing during isolation, and she has found innovative ways to keep music in their lives.

She says “These most challenging times, of the coronavirus illness and isolation that we are faced with, are enormously difficult for us all. Yet, making some time for music – to listen to music, to sing, to rap, to dance, to play…. as often as possible can make a positive difference to us all”.

Music has always been a big part of Marian’s life. Prior to the current situation, she taught music one day a week in a primary school and she leads a children’s singing club at Rye Primary as well as offering private tuition.

“I started learning the piano from the age of 7 years; during my childhood I sang at home, at school and at church and I continue to do so. I continue to love music enormously. I still enjoy playing the piano at home and could not contemplate life without my piano!”

She says “I am passionate about the importance and benefits of music in the lives of children. Throughout my teaching career of 38 years, which I truly loved, I always ran a children’s school choir/singing club, which was enormous fun, popular with the children and successful.

“Music was always very important in all of my schools – from everyone singing together in daily assemblies, to the curriculum music lessons, instrument lessons, school music groups, school productions and taking part in local music events. What fun we had!”

Not to be beaten by the current restrictions, Marian has turned to new technology and is now keeping in touch with some of the children she teaches via Facetime, Whats App video, and Zoom.

Modern technology is amazing 

“These free ways of communicating are proving to be very successful and great fun! Modern technology is amazing! We can sing and chat together whilst seeing each other too! For children in particular, I believe this way of keeping in touch is very positive and can help the child realise I am still here for them – I am able to support their well-being during this unexpected time of isolation, which can be very hard to cope with”.

She has found that her online sessions with pupils have often led to other conversations about toys and dolls that they play with which has helped to build up the bonds they have.

Marian is emailing families weekly with ideas of how to include music at home for the enjoyment of the children and themselves, if they wish to. “On YouTube there are many wonderful video clips of classical music for children, clips of a wide range of children’s songs, dance music, show music and much more for children to access and enjoy” she said.

Below are some links which Marian has given as a  taste of what can be enjoyed so easily by families if they have YouTube, as well as enabling children to link Music into Art, English and History etc. (She suggests though that adults access the music clips for their child and watch them together as sometimes inappropriate adverts may pop up for example.)

Enjoying amazing music so easily

She says “I particularly value the ‘Classical music for kids’ clips on YouTube as these introduce children to a range of different music which they can really get to know and enjoy, and which they might not hear otherwise.  How lucky we are that we can enjoy amazing music with our children so easily, and it’s free! And, don’t forget, that this music is not only for children – we can all enjoy it.

Marian also works with the local Music Well which is passionate about the value of music for mental health and well-being. She says that they are doing wonderful work in a range of settings with all ages. If you would like to contact Marian she can be emailed at

Click the links to see some of Marian’s suggestions on YouTube.  We welcome your ideas and suggestions too.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons ‘Spring’

Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev

and another version of Peter and the Wolf

Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky

Mozart’s story

Handel’s Firework Suite

Image Credits: Shutterstock , Marian Ham .


  1. Yes this is a wonderful way to connect in these strange and challenging days. Marian is terrific at being with children through music and The Music Well are hugely grateful for all she does. They are also hoping to get more music therapy and drumming/percussion groups online.


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