By Robert Boer, Director of MusicTutorOnline.
Teacher of Piano, Music Theory & Analysis.
Tips to help you make the most out of your online music education.
There are some differences between setting up for different subjects. During your free intro here at MusicTutorOnline, subject-specifics concerning setting up for lessons will be discussed with you before starting your online music lessons.
In this post, we like to provide you with general tips suitable for all subjects.
Our teachers need to see you well, and our teachers need to check your hand position, posture, finger position, etc. Every teacher will always discuss this with you individually since each subject has specific requirements. However, here are some things you can always do:
Make sure you are in a room with enough light.
Don't sit in front of bright lights or a window. It will be hard for your teacher to see you clearly with a bright light behind you. If you have to sit in front of a window, it is best to close the curtains and turn on the lights.
If there is not enough daylight, it is best to sit under lights or have light in front of you. (Not behind you)
If possible, try finding a place in your home where you can enjoy your lessons undisturbed, away from distractions. This will help you enter the right mindset.
When in a lesson, make sure you have everything you need nearby:
Your lesson books.
Water and snacks.
Pencils, sharpeners, rubbers, highlighters.
It will save you a lot of time.
Technology can also be an aid. Why not download a free app that acts as a metronome, a tuner, or a timer? (Essential tools for musicians).
Be near a table to place your device on.
Use some books under your device if needed.
Having a solid music stand on which to place your device is another excellent option.
A tripod for your phone, tablet, or external webcam is another great option worth exploring.
For a great viewing experience, we recommend using a larger screen like a laptop or desktop. This will enhance the visual aspect of your learning simply because you will see your teacher in greater detail.
A phone or tablet can serve as a (second) camera to capture certain needed angles that your teacher needs to see.
Some of our students and teachers are in class with two devices.
Example for piano classes
Device 1: phone, tablet, or laptop/desktop: The camera captures your hands, fingers, arms, etc., for your teacher to check your posture.
Device 2: Tablet or laptop/desktop: Placed directly in front of you on the piano stand or on top of the piano to capture your face and to see your teacher directly in front of you.
When calling in with two devices, make sure that one has the microphone turned off, and the volume turned down. This is needed; otherwise, there is a possibility of feedback/echo.
A (reasonable) fast and stable internet connection are important since video conferencing demands a lot from your internet connection. Being as close to your WiFi router as possible helps if your internet connection is troublesome. If your WiFi is sometimes unstable, connecting your computer directly to your router with an ethernet cable is worth exploring. More info about this can be found in our TECH TIPS post.
We recommend using headphones. Sometimes, when no headphones are used, there can be an echo. The sound coming out of the speakers, going back into the microphone, is what can cause that. In-ear or over-ear headphones are both ok. Try it out, and use what you find most comfortable and works best for you. With headphones, your experience listening to your teacher play/sing and talk will dramatically improve, and you may feel more immersed.
We recommend investing in an external microphone if you like to go all out. It is especially recommended for more advanced players. There are excellent quality USB microphones that are very easy to use: plug in and play. External microphones improve the sound of your playing dramatically when you record yourself and when you play during your online lessons. Recording yourself is one of the best educational tools to help yourself improve. Working on sound balance and sound quality with your teacher is easier when you use a good microphone during your online lessons.
We hope you enjoyed reading our tips and always welcome any feedback and questions. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of MusicTutorOnline.