Road to Recovery: The beat goes on for Steamboat Academy of Music & Dance |

Road to Recovery: The beat goes on for Steamboat Academy of Music & Dance

Holly Fielding owns and operates the newly renamed Steamboat Academy of Music & Dance.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Holly Fielding will tell you she was not prepared for the arrival of COVID-19 in March, but she quickly implemented changes to keep her business from becoming a victim of the pandemic.

“Pivoting to online was a change that had to be made for COVID,” Fielding said. 

The recently renamed Steamboat Academy of Music & Dance quickly transitioned students to a virtual format offering piano, voice, violin, viola, cello, ukulele, standup bass, flute, saxophone and drum classes online. Fielding said the approach was well received by her students taking private lessons, and the online learning model was embraced by most of the parents with children at the academy who were looking for a way to maintain a sense of normalcy.

“Everything was changing in their kid’s schedule, and it was stressing them out,” Fielding said of the impacts of the pandemic. “So, this was the one thing that stayed constant, and so, they stuck with it.”

The Academy returned to in-person classes in May, but the 15-member teaching staff is still offering virtual classes for those who still prefer that option.

After Labor Day, the business will expand to include dance. Fielding, who has been teaching music for more than 40 years, recently hired an artistic director as she plans to add ballet, modern dance, jazz and tap classes to the curriculum. The academy will take over the space that housed the Steamboat Arts Academy before its recent move into the Chief Theater.

Another big change will be the addition of the School Days program, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week and help children remain focused on their online lessons, while also offering music or dance classes and complementing the rock music day program offered at the academy on Fridays.

“The School Days Program was a direct result of learning how the school was going to be back in session and supporting parents who were wondering how they were going to keep their jobs,” Fielding said. “We’re going to be doing basically supervised online days here for the kids. … Basically, they will get music and dance lessons each week as well as the regular school stuff, physical activity and enrichment.”

She said students will be separated into cohorts of no more than 15 students, and the programs and schedules will work in conjunction with what’s happening at the schools. COVID-19 protocols, including mask wearing and hand washing, will be followed, and students will have their temperatures checked before taking part in a program.

The Road to Recovery series is part of the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s ongoing efforts to report on how COVID-19 is impacting Steamboat Springs and Routt County. This series is supported in part by a grant from Google’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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