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Should you take online music lessons and what should you know before starting.

April 22, 2020

 

Since the outbreak of Covid 19 everyone including myself is now very concerned with practicing social distancing. Naturally, that means you'll be thinking twice before leaving the house or having others around. This means music teachers like me are quickly learning how to accommodate students via online resources.  
 

 

Fortunately resources such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and other video chat platforms have come to the rescue for the average person trying to have face-to-face meetings from home. And if it works for meetings, why not take music lessons via a video platform?  
 

 

Well, let’s go through the advantages and shortfalls of taking music lessons remotely and you can decide for yourself if you’d like to give it a try.  
 

 

1.Saves travel time & related costs. If you’d prefer someone face-to-face but really don’t have time to travel , this is a great alternative. Not only will it save time but you’ll probably have more options when scheduling, and won't be spending quite as much in fuel. The elimination of travel can do wonders if you're time poor or cash strapped, not to mention you're doing your bit to reduce your carbon footprint! 

 

2. You’ll most likely have better access to your teacher's wealth of resources. Most teachers would plan lessons based on what students are currently going through, print the sheet music and have it ready for the students when starting a new lesson or continuing with a piece. However, the great thing about online music lessons is that the teacher can instantly send you resources at the click of a button when a topic arises or there are questions or difficult tasks you’re dealing with. Most teachers would need to print out resources for the following week in the case of a face-to-face lesson.  
 

 

3. Video exams are becoming a reality. If you're interested in training for exams I already know that international exam board Rockschool (https://www.rslawards.com/rockschool/video-exams/ ) has recently launched a video exam platform where students just need to play the pieces and send through an unedited video of each with all technique exercises. In my opinion, this is a breakthrough for music education and how it will be assessed in the future. So in order to get the prep needed to have a great video exam, online lessons may be a very valuable way to take your lessons.  
 

 

 

4. For shy students this could be great. If you’re an introvert just getting started, or even an experienced player who is not comfortable playing for someone else  perhaps give you a sense of freedom to play as though no one is watching. Online music lessons could be a gentle introduction and help you to gain confidence you need to show the world how much you’ve improved.  

 

 

5. Be sure your internet connection can handle it. It's your music teacher's responsibility to ensure they have a fast internet connection, but beyond that, you'll need to check whether your internet is adequate too. For an online music lesson to run smoothly, you'll need to see and hear the teacher clearly and the same goes for your teacher being able to see and hear you. I’d suggest at least a 4mbps upload and download speed, although from my experience best results usually come from a fibre line if you can afford it.  
 

 

6. Be aware, not all online lessons have a live instructor. There are apps and pre-paid video lessons, or there are YouTube lessons for free, however, unless you really know what you’re doing and what to look for these may not be the best for you. This is usually for someone who just wants to check out a bit of the basics. Not for someone who wants to commit to realising their full potential with personalised lessons. Also remember that with pre-recorded video lessons you don’t have a live instructor so you can’t stop them and ask questions along the way.  
 

 

The saying goes, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained.’ I’d suggest sticking with and supporting your current teacher if you have one and at least giving it a chance of a two lesson trial. I’m not just saying this because I’m a music teacher but because I’ve had great success in asking my in-person students to give it a shot. I could say most of them were at first not convinced but one or two lessons made all the difference and I really feel like I’m able to connect with some if not all even better than in person. From a students point of view the value could be more as fees are generally less because costs of travel and printed notes not in the equation. 
 

 

You can also contact me for online guitar or keyboard lessons.  
 

 

Until next time, keep playing!  
 

 

Paul 

 

 

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