On March 25th, 2020, we moved all music lessons online in response to COVID-19 coronavirus. While it was a certainly a challenge to make the sudden shift, our students and amazing team of teachers managed to pull it off and adapt to the change.
Now that we’ve had a few weeks to work out some of the kinks and get some feedback, we wanted to give you a helpful guide to set you up for success. Below are some of the ways that you and your children can get the most out of taking online music lessons.
Setting-Up Your Learning Environment
To optimize the learning experience, we’ve compiled a list of practical considerations to help you to set up your environment for success with online music lessons.
Choosing the Right Space
You will want to choose a quiet and distraction-free spot in your home as the designated learning space for your online music lessons. If the environment is a shared space – such as at a piano in the living room – it’s especially important for other members of the household to respect the lesson time and keep as quiet as possible. Try to find a good spot for your device during the lesson. Ideally, the screen should be facing you, and you should able to see the teacher while seated with your instrument. Lastly, have adequate lighting so the teacher can see you clearly (we’ve found natural light is best).
Equipment and Software
In addition to your musical instrument, you will need the following for your online lessons:
- A reliable device with a built-in camera and microphone. We recommend a laptop computer, but a tablet or smartphone can also work if a computer is not available.
- A fast internet connection. For video lessons, we recommend at minimum a speed of 25 Mbps. You can check your internet speed at https://fast.com/.
- A video conferencing app. For online music lessons, we recommend Zoom. You can sign up for a free account at https://zoom.us/
We also suggest keeping your device plugged-in to a power source during the lesson, as video-calls tend to drain battery power quickly. Please discuss with your teacher any additional equipment that you can prepare to optimize your online lesson experience. Some OPTIONAL items you can prepare for your lessons include:
- External microphone, headphones, or speakers
- Scanning, notation, and educational software
- Backing tracks (especially for singers)
- A music stand
- A metronome
Additional Considerations for Parents
Parents will need to become a bit more involved in their children’s music lessons as they make the transition to learning online. During this time, we encourage you to have an open mind towards this new experience! This will set the tone for your children as they embark on this new adventure. Some additional considerations include:
- Helping your children to prepare for their lessons. This means still making time to practice regularly so that they continue to make progress each week. Also, you will be the primary recipient of any directions sent over email from your teacher. It will be up to you to read the teacher’s directions carefully and prepare your kids for their lessons accordingly.
- Learning to tune your child’s musical instrument, or helping them to tune it themselves. This is particularly important for tuning stringed instruments like the guitar. If you don’t already own a tuner, I recommend the free app GuitarTuna, which makes tuning your guitar quick and easy.
- Checking in with the teacher at the end of the lesson. You don’t have to sit in on the entire lesson, but checking in with the teacher can be extremely valuable for understanding what is expected of your child to practice this week.
And lastly, remember to have fun! I truly believe that the way we are going to make it through this crisis is by looking out for one another. So let’s try to make the best of this situation and enjoy our lessons together so that we can have something to look forward to each week.