Since the pandemic, all forms of learning have drastically shifted towards teaching online. While some music schools have re-opened, remote education via the PC is a suitable alternative for many teachers and learners. If you’re looking to get started with remote teaching, here are some tips to make the most of the experience.
Make a private space
If you’re planning on running online music lessons, make sure you have an appropriate workspace without any interruptions. A busy coffee shop won’t be sufficient. Any busy sounds might get picked up by your microphone which might be disruptive for learning. If you have your own music studio or can use one, that might be the most viable option.
In order to host online lessons, you will need a reliable internet connection. It is recommended to invest in a fixed broadband line if you aren’t traveling around. If you’re looking at a mobile provider, uncapped usage might be required. A 1080p video call might use as much as 2GB per hour (and even more for a group call).
An HD webcam can be purchased for very little money – but it will greatly improve the quality of your lessons. The Logitech C922 or Logitech Brio comes highly recommend for music lessons. If you have a DSLR lying around, check if it can be used as a webcam too.
Zoom or Google Hangouts
With both platforms you will be able to schedule your next online lesson. While there are different video conferencing platforms to use, Zoom and Google Hangouts have proved to be the most reliable with the least amount of latency. Make sure that you have a reliable internet connection to avoid any drops or lags.
BandLab for Education
BandLab for Education is a free education DAW that is easy to use. It makes use of Google Chrome (and even works on Chromebooks) and requires very little setup. It allows you to easily collaborate over the internet in a secure classroom with your students.
A standalone audio interface will allow you to transfer clean audio quality across to your students from your PC.
Even a two channel audio interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 will allow you to connect a microphone and instrument. There’s even a fantastic bundle available which includes the audio interface, microphone, headphones and Pro Tools license.
Since you’ll most likely be talking for the duration of your music lesson, invest in a proper high-quality microphone. The Audio-Technica AT2020 Cardioid Condenser Studio XLR Microphone is a fantastic choice for music lessons and home studios without breaking the bank.
Control the lesson
Since you’re the teacher, it’s important to have the lesson planned. During the lesson, you should be in control and know which direction to take it. If students are disruptive on their microphones, make sure to mute them in order to keep your lesson on schedule.
It’s important to remember that you are a teacher first and foremost. While it might be nice to act as a friend, remember to stay professional and be appropriate. Any personal details about your life should be left out of the lessons. Make sure your discussion stays on the topic of music.
Once the lesson has concluded, mention appropriate ways to contact you with follow-up questions. If this ends up taking a considerable amount of your time, consider another way to handle the queries such as charging for additional 1-on-1 time.
Record your lessons
There are many benefits to recording your lessons. First and foremost, if any learners are unable to join, a recorded video will allow them to catch up. Secondly, it will allow you to potentially sell the content or give it away in the future. It’s also a good way to reference and see how you can improve the quality of your lessons.