Why One Zoom Class Has Generated a Following

January 13, 2021

Source: eJewish Philanthropy

While the rest of the world may be Zoom fatigued, over seventy families have continued to sign on for a free Zoom toddler music class twice-a-week. Why do these grownups and their babies, toddlers, and preschoolers keep coming back, as they have been since March?

An answer in our community is the musician, Amichai Margolis, who is the Debbie Friedman or Raffi of Zoom. While Amichai literally works magic in terms of engaging both grownups and children alike on Zoom, there is also a percentage of the Zoom program that is attributable to a few other factors that all Jewish organizations can utilize to make their virtual programs even more successful.

Here are 10 tips we have learned from the same engaging music class:

  1. Brevity: We started the class as 15 minutes long and a few weeks into the class, we extended its duration to 20 minutes.
  2. Promptness: When the expectation is that a program starts on time, families not only join on time, but they even come a few minutes early.
  3. Joy: Zoom can feel like a real class with proper and well-timed engagement.
  4. Chat: Use the chat function to ask for input to songs (not song requests, but comments connected to songs).
  5. Muting: Even though you might be tempted to unmute a student to give an answer to a question, those precious seconds of unmuting and re-muting loses your audience for a brief few seconds in an already brief program.
  6. Hosting: Having someone at Zoom mission control (aside from the main musician) is an integral part to making your Zoom program a success.
  7. Talent: Find yourself one of the best Jewish musicians out there!
  8. Script: Stick to the program and don’t clutter with extraneous announcements.
  9. Reminders: In the midst of our busy pandemic schedules, families benefit from reminders about your class.
  10. Farewells: End the Zoom with a quick goodbye from the musician.

This class has demonstrated that the possibility for increasing Jewish literacy through Jewish music on Zoom is astronomical. At The Leffell School, I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience the excitement of this class as a parent as well. When my children were learning remotely, my toddler and preschooler eagerly awaited Amichai’s Zoom. They sang the songs from this Zoom all week long and still sing the songs from these classes at any given moment.

Read the entire piece at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Feb. 18, 2021