Musicians have moved to online lessons during these crazy times. Although having a remote lesson is not quite the same as being in the same room together, they can still be very productive and allow time for other fun musical activities. I have put together a list of some of the best tips for both students and teachers I have learned during the shutdown.
- Test your set-up before the first lesson. Make sure the camera can see your hands and face while playing. This ensures the teacher doesn’t have to guess what you’re doing.
- Use external speakers or headphones if possible for the best sound quality.
- Be sure to speak moderately loud especially after playing your instrument. Many online video chat programs will try to cut out any background noises. Instruments are so loud that if you talk afterward the program identifies your speaking voice as quiet background noise and mutes it.
- Try to set-up a home music studio space in a quiet part of your house or apartment. This helps lessen any distractions and can help get you in the mindset for a lesson. It also gives you a designated space to practice!
- Put an emphasis on learning “fun” music. Most of my students have requested movie, video game, or meme songs to work on during this time. This definitely keeps up the motivation to progress!
- Spend a few minutes each lesson working on something you don’t normally have time for. I’ve been able to work much more on theory, ear training, composition, and extended/advanced playing techniques with students.
- Check-in and ask about the students’ week. I know most teachers already try to stay informed, but it’s especially important to keep the human connection alive since most people are more isolated than normal.
- Use a multi-camera system especially for piano lessons where the student can see your face and then switch to a keyboard view to show your hands.
- Use the “share screen” feature frequently. I use this function constantly during lessons. I can share how I would mark up their music and use the whiteboard function to draw my super awesome drawings. (I am in fact, a very bad artist but can usually get the point across.)