Teaching music lessons/classes remotely
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 825
    Has anyone had any success teaching music classes or private lessons remotely using Zoom, Skype or other such platform? I am teaching a group voice class and we just tried our first virtual class using Zoom. The most difficult issue I found was that only one person can sing/make sound at a time, so if I am playing the piano, my student cannot sing at the same time. That leaves "call and response" as the only viable option, but no way to accompany live.

    I've heard of other private teachers using Skype with some success, but have not experienced it myself. I am open to any tips or tricks that may help.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 456
    I just had my first voice lesson via Facetime. We can't really do anything simultaneous because there's a slight lag. He plays for warmups, where it doesn't matter if we are exactly together. For work on pieces I play a lyrivox accompaniment at my end or sing without accompaniment. It is fine for working on technique, expression, pronunciation etc but we couldn't do duets or group rehearsal.
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  • CatherineS
    Posts: 456
    Just to add, when I play the lyrivox accompaniment at my end I use my ipad. The laptop has the Facetime connection. My teacher uses headphones at his end to hear me in detail. I do not use headphones at my end.
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  • One father of four of my piano students initiated this. After several proposals we decided that the best solution for my limited computer skills was for him to send me videos of the students rehearsing their repertory and having me e-mail commentary and instructions.
    Thanked by 3CharlesW CCooze Elmar
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 134
    I have not used Zoom - Skype is what I am currently using. It's difficult, and more limited in what you are able to do even if you have a perfectly good internet connection. Make sure to use the fastest connection possible; this may entail getting an ethernet connection and/or adapter to connect your computer directly to the router.

    I find I have to repeat myself more often, and have the student repeat/confirm instructions more often, since the one-at-a-time audio means we accidentally talk over each other all the time. I may have to invest in a wider-angle webcam too.

    I am told it might help, in some situations, to sign in twice to Zoom so that you can use two camera angles for teaching. Obviously you'd want to mute one of the devices.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 456
    I have a fiber optic internet service and there is still some lag and occasional need to repeat, occasional interrupting each other. I'm not sure that can be overcome to a degree needed for music. It's fine for chatting with family.
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  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 825
    Thanks all. I'm amazed at how many pro-skype voice teachers are on YouTube. I find the limitations very frustrating. I have a good connection and microphone on my end, but I can't control what equipment the students are using. And since I am dealing with non-musicians, asking them to accompany themselves is not an option. I can demonstrate something and ask them to sing it back, but that is about it. Hopefully this will only be a temporary situation.

    I think the sharing of recordings is a good option and probably less frustrating than live virtual meetings.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • I manage piano lessons long-distance, but have suspended the voice/theory lessons until I can be in the same room as the student.
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  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 171
    With Zoom, what our choir director has everyone do is sing their own part (we do sectionals) while muted and out director plays piano. This way everyone can sing at the same time. The downside is the director can’t hear the mistakes.
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  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,809
    the old radio trick is to use the term 'over' which means you are finished talking and it is the other persons turn... that way you don't accidently talk over each other.
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  • CatherineS
    Posts: 456
    I get a lot of use out of accompaniments on youtube, such as those made by lyribox. They are just the piano or instrumental part. It doesn't give you the flexibility of a live accompanist, but a) it allows you to practice at home learning your entrances and timing, becoming familiar with the distractions the accompaniment may cause (unusual harmonies or rhythms), etc. and b) I (as student) can play the accompaniment on my end while singing during the video lesson, since my teacher can't play along (because of the lag). In a few cases where we couldn't find a youtube accompaniment he played an accompaniment himself, recorded it, and sent it to me, and I used that to practice and can now use it for video lessons.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • eboydston1
    Posts: 7
    I've been teaching my piano students remotely. Facetime has worked very well for me. I have two very shy students (twins) They are more confident because they are home. I worried a lot about teaching them in this manner, because I would have to go into the kitchen when they would play at my house. But, that has not been the case!

    Love the idea of the Zoom for choir rehearsal -- never thought about using the mute button! That is very clever!

    PLUS, I had been working on the Hauptwerk organ with the plan of using it the first time on Easter, but its still in my living room, so its kind of perfect for rehearsal now!!

    Stay healthy!
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,627
    I did my first Zoom voice-teaching session last night, and found the same limitations. Does anyone know of a way to keep the student's video up on the main display, even when they aren't making noise?
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 456
    If you use Skype, Whatsapp or Facetime the other video stays open.

    PS - I just discovered that in Zoom there is a 'gallery' setting (toggle up in the upper right corner of the screen) that keep everyone displayed, as opposed to the sound-triggered view.