How to Get the Most from Online Lessons

Online lessons are new to many of us, so before the teaching year starts, I have put together a list of tips for how to get the most out of your online lessons!

  1. Get set up early – Make sure you know how long it takes to set up for a lesson! Make sure to include time go get all your equipment together (your instrument, music, a pencil, a music stand, and anything else you might need) as well as all your technological equipment. I usually start setting up 20 minutes prior to the start of a lesson to make sure I have time to get everything prepared without having to feel rushed!
  2. Make sure you have everything you need – as mentioned above, make sure you have your instrument, a music stand, pencil, all music you may need, the device you are streaming from and any other technological items you may need
  3. Pick the right spot for your lessons – a student needs a quiet distraction-free location to stream from so they can concentrate on learning. If it is possible, make sure it is near the source of the wifi, or plugged into your router/internet source via an ethernet cable if possible.
  4. Be present during lessons – Sometimes technological difficulties can happen despite all of our preparations! It’s good to be around in case your child need any assistance.
  5. Set a reminder prior to the lesson – There’s a lot going on in our lives. It can be especially hard to remember now when all of our schedules are being changed around. If you think you might forget a lesson, set a reminder! Ideally, set a reminder at the time you would start setting up for lessons (and if you want, some phones will let you add a second reminder!)
  6. Read the lesson notes with your child – make sure you know what was assigned to the student during the week, and that they know too! Check the lesson notes and make sure to ask me if something doesn’t make sense!
  7. Talk to the teacher – if you have questions, concerns, or problems, please talk to me early! If there is a problem with setup or practicing, it’s always easiest to deal with the problem right away rather than leaving things to pile up!
  8. Remember: Learning music is a team effort! It takes the combined work of parent, teacher, and child to make lessons & practicing work. Students cannot practice and learn on their own. If we are all on the same page regarding practicing, music, and lesson goals, that will really help to make sure the child is most prepared to have a good musical experience this year.

These tips will help make sure you get the most out of your online lessons. There’s lots of ways to get a chance to have a good musical experience, even whilst we are far from each other!

Do you want to get even more from your lesson? Keep reading for a few bonus tips!

For those of you who feel you have the hang of online lessons, you might want to up your game and try and make sure you’ve got everything set up. For you, I’ve got a few bonus tips!

  • Discuss platforms with your teacher – I teach on Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype currently. If the one you’re using now in lessons is not working, let me know! I’m happy to try out one of the other two with you!
  • Check your sound settings – both Zoom and Skype have settings that let you turn of the ‘auto adjusting’ these platforms do (this means they try to quiet down background noise to make it easier to hear people talking. This can affect how it plays back our instruments!) You can easily change these items in settings, let me know if you need help finding these settings, I’m happy to send screenshots!
    • In Zoom, go to ‘settings’, ‘audio’, then click the button that says ‘advanced’ in the bottom right corner. In this menu, check the box that reads ‘show in-meeting button to enable original sound’. When in a meeting, if you click this button, the audio will stop auto-adjusting, and can result in much better sound quality for your instrument
    • In Skype, go to ‘settings’, then ‘audio and video’ then switch off ‘automatically adjust microphone settings’
  • Check in if you’re having technology problems – there are work arounds for technology problems, so if you’re having issues, be sure to talk to me so we can find a solution. Replacing some of the live lesson with recordings are an option, as is using the video from a platform like Skype but the sound from a ‘regular’ telephone call. Please talk to me if you need help with this!
  • Send in recordings at least a day early – this will help me to make sure I have lots of time to look over them and make comments prior to your next lesson

And most importantly, have fun! Music is meant to be enjoyed, so have fun with your adventures in learning an instrument!

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