How to get the best out of your Online Piano Lesson

A Guide for Parents and Students...

How great is it that technology lets us have online lessons for piano? This is a guide for parents and students to get the most out of your online lessons..

THE ESSENTIALS

For online lessons to be successful, you will need a strong internet connection and an understanding family who will be happy to stay off streaming during lesson time to help ensure that the wifi isn’t feeling too stretched. Also you will need either a laptop, smart phone or tablet and some way to prop it up. So far my students have been really creative here–using an ironing board as a table to help adjust the height of their laptop. Propping up tablets on washing baskets with bean tins, sticking a phone to a door with duck-tape, webcams taped to a standard lamp!

Test out your camera setup by taking a selfie! Ideally I should be able to see the student’s side profile and their hands on the piano keys–you’ll just have to play with the angles. Try not to have the device too far away though, as this will mean that the microphone will struggle to pick up your conversation during lessons.

Talking of sound - the online platform Zoom listens for all sound and actually spotlights the persons device that detects the most sound. This means that it picks up all background noise such as televisions etc. so if possible try and keep your lesson room as quiet as you can to help Zoom focus on the main sounds from the lesson.

THE BIG THREE

Camera’s, Microphones and Speakers can really make a difference to your online lesson experience. Most modern computers, phones and tablets have built in camera’s, microphones and speakers however to get the best out of your online lessons then it is a good idea to check the quality of these when choosing which device to host your lessons on.

Modern phones seem to offer a good quality mix of the Big 3, however the screen can be small which can cause problems when sharing sheet music on screen. Tablets also seem to work very well as they offer a good balance of all elements plus a decent sized screen. Alternatively if you choose to use a laptop or a computer then you will have a good screen size, options to angle your camera to show your keyboard and finger positions more easily. You can even add an extra webcam for more angles, or a USB microphone which really helps improve sound quality via the USB connections.

TAKING AN ONLINE LESSON

Surprisingly, online classes are very similar to in-person lessons. In fact, most things stay the same! It’s like I am right beside you teaching you at your regular lesson. I can hear you play, and we can talk about things. Some things that are different: we both have to really listen, because we can’t talk at the same time! I won’t be able to play at the same time as you because of the audio delay. But we can still do a lot of fun things and learn together. For any younger piano students, it’s best if a parent or older sibling can sit in on lessons. This assistance will really help me if there is any trouble understanding directions or if a technical issue occurs.

BEFORE THE LESSON

Get ready with all your piano books, a pencil and an eraser. Have everything charged and ready to go! If it's your first online lesson then you will need to download Zoom on to your device. Once this is done simply Login to the Student Portal via the website homepage, and click the "Online Lesson" link on your calendar! After each lesson I will email across full lesson notes and any sheet music/ worksheets that you may need for the week ahead. Try be ready to go 5 – 10 minutes before your lesson. You can play through your songs while you are waiting for me!

Let’s have some fun, see you online!

April xx

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