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Lockdown Interview with Kristin Thielemann

We’re checking in with our composers and authors at Schott Music and finding out how they’ve been getting on and if they have made big adjustments to their music making and teaching.

Kristin Thielemann is a professional trumpetist, author, arranger and composer. After several years playing professionally in orchesters like the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Lubeck Philharmonic she decided to live near lake constance with her family, teaching trumpet and holding lectures for music pedagogy. We caught up with Kristin in Zurich, Switzerland.


Hi Kristin. Where have you been spending lockdown?

Mostly at home with my family: My husband Arne, our two boys Jakob (12) and Johann (8) and our cat. Some nights I have been out alone for a walk on the lakeside.


During lockdown, have you been playing more or less music than usual?

Approximately the same amount but different things: Normally I practice a lot on the trumpet for my concerts, which is no longer necessary because all concerts were cancelled. I tried to play all Beethoven piano sonatas. Additionally, I was playing much more music with my family. Both of my children are playing trumpet, the older son also has singing lessons and my husband plays trumpet as well. But with all my new projects during the lockdown, there was not much freetime left. (Kristin founded the podcast, blog and website „Motivation Musikpädagogik“ together with Max Gaertner, which was about online lessons and music pedagogy during the lockdown time).


What do your neighbours think of all the music coming from your house?

They are more than used to it…


Have you performed for them?

Every Saturday evening I play the Schweizerpsalm (Swiss National Anthem) and a Bach Choral for them.


What have you finally been able to get around to that you’d been putting off for too long?

I’ll only say this: Tidying up is the new shopping.


What have you experienced regarding online/video music lessons?

When both students and teachers are technically well-equipped and have suitable teaching material for this situation, online lessons can be a valuable addition. If the teacher uses a good didactical and pedagogical approach, online lessons can be very motivating for a certain time.

Online classes and keeping motivation up: Kristin makes it possible!


Do you have any practice tips for people playing music at home?

Lots of them! Way too many for an interview. Just read my book “Jedes Kind ist musikalisch“ (i.e. “Every child is musical“, a counselor book for parents) or “Voll motiviert“ (i.e. “Totally motivated“ for music pedagogues). Only available in German and Chinese so far.


Have you been working on any other skills during lockdown?

Beside making podcasts and fast-writing a lot of contributions to several music magazines about online lessons. I learned to produce short video clips and cut them online together with my students for a Digital Music Competition, a recent innovation of mine, for the Musicschool Jugendmusik Kreuzlingen, where I give lessons.


Have you given performances online during lockdown?

I didn’t give any trumpet performances but thanks to webinars, I lectured music teachers in topics like motivating music lessons or online teaching. During lockdown, I had the honor of lecturing the very first webinar event in the history of Schott Music in Germany.

Webinars: Here is where the magic happens!

What TV box sets or movies have you been binging on?

Beside my podcast, the new website, writing a book, several magazine contributions, lecturing and home-schooling my children, I had very little time for TV or movies…


What music are you listening to?

My children have been listening to a lot of pop music, so have I. In the evenings, our family sometimes watches opera performances on TV and my 8-year-old loves to listen to Beethoven symphonies in the mornings while laying in my bed.


What books have you been reading?

As I always do: I read psychological and pedagogical studies as well as the latest specialist literature on music.


What do you miss most about music before the pandemic?

The interaction between the musicians during rehearsals and concerts; the energy you feel from the other musicians and the audience.


What’s the first live music event you’ll go to or perform at?

In the first service after the lockdown, on Pentecost, my older son Jakob (12), who is boy soprano soloist at the Zürcher Sängerknaben (Zurich Boys’ Choir) and I played arias from George Frederic Handel such as “Eternal Source of Light Divine“ for trumpet, soprano and organ and some arrangements I made from Handel’s Opera arias for the same cast.


What are you most looking forward to after lockdown?

Meeting friends and making music with them, visiting my parents in Hamburg and spending summer holidays at my favorite quiet place on the Baltic Sea where I can watch and listen the waves while writing my new book for Schott Music.


Anything else you’d like to mention?

I want to thank my great family for their support during the lockdown where I worked Monday through Sunday sometimes more than 14 hours a day on my short term projects. I know they had to take a back seat so many times so that I other music pedagogues could count on me and children in Germany, Austria and Switzerland could get motivating online music lessons. Thank you so much, Arne, Jakob and Johann.