When the pandemic arrived in March 2020, many music students switched to online private lessons, and many still continue to meet only virtually. Challenges for both students and teachers include access and reliability of Internet connections, altered sound quality, and perhaps most important, a lack of personal interaction in learning environments. Here are suggestions designed to raise the bar for online private music lessons.
Arrange lessons at the same day and time each week and establish a routine of daily practice to prepare for the lessons.
Choose a location for the best sound and light, experimenting with various options and testing different camera angles with a practice partner or with your teacher. After deciding on a location, try both standing and sitting, and remember to maintain direct visual contact with the computer for sound consistency.
Assemble lesson materials, including pencil, metronome, tuner, sheet music, and a glass of water to be accessible during the lesson. Warm up prior to the lesson time in order to perform your best from the beginning of the session.
Experiment using your phone, tablet, and laptop or desktop to achieve the best Internet connection. Higher volumes of traffic during this global time of remote learning affect bandwidth consistency for both student and teacher. Frequent technology disruptions are frustrating, so remember to be patient with the process.
The internal camera and microphone on today’s computers, laptops, and phones are excellent for lecture classes; however, music often benefits from external technology such as a webcam or additional mic. If you are considering an upgrade of equipment, research the marketplace with a goal of value, reliability, and availability. Choose a retailer that specializes in music supplies for schools.
As we adjust to social distancing, wearing masks, and limiting group activities, we can still make music together.