Apple Desktop computer or laptop is the preferred device; other laptops, iPads and Chrome books (less than a year old only) will work okay. Please only use a cell phone as a last resort (the small screen is not preferable).
Keep device plugged into a power source for entire lesson. Precious lesson time can be lost when a battery dies.
The microphone on most laptops, phones, and tablets is omnidirectional (picks up all the sound in the room) and is okay to pick up most of the range of your playing or singing.
Sound quality can be GREATLY improved with the use of an external microphone such as a Yeti brand microphone. If you are choosing to have virtual lessons be the MAIN lesson format, an external microphone is a must!
You will need TWO devices! One for streaming the lesson and one for playing accompaniment tracks. DO NOT use the same device for both - it will distort the sound. Use a laptop or desktop for the lesson and a tablet or phone for the accompaniment tracks. An external speaker for the device playing the accompaniment track is strongly encourage for best volume and balance!
WiFi will work. However, if you are able to connect your device to your router with an ethernet cable, it will provide a better connection with fewer glitches or lag.
Video Calling Software
We will be using the Zoom platform. Download the zoom app and set up your free account. Please set the following perimeters for the best music sound quality:
Once you have created your account, go to “settings”, then “audio”
Uncheck “ automatically adjust microphone volume”
Set input volume to about level 5
Set output volume to about level 6
Select "low" for Suppress background noise
Check the box for “show in-meeting option to Enable Original Sound from microphone” and select "high fidelity music mode", "echo cancellation" and "stereo audio"
FaceTime and Skype can be used as back-up options. Please familiarize yourself with either of these platforms and have them ready to go should we need to change platforms quickly.
If no video platforms are working, our final backup will be to have the student record a video of each assignment, send them to the teacher and a return instructional video will be sent back within 24 hours.
Placement of Streaming Device
Because we are working with minors and want only the best for our students, please set up for the lesson in a “common space”, or if it must be the bedroom, leave the door open.
Please try to set up in a space where other family member noises and distractions can be kept to a minimum.
Piano Students should angle the camera so that it is above and slightly behind them, on the treble (higher) side of the keyboard. The sound will be better quality for the teacher if the microphone is not right next to the bass. You may need to get creative to place your device this high. Some suggestions are a stool and a sturdy box or stack of thick books. Please try to match the angle as shown in the picture below.
Voice Students should angle the camera so that the student can be seen from head to knees. If you can set up near your own keyboard, that would be ideal, so you may use it as needed during the lesson. Please try to match the angle as shown in the picture below. The 2nd device that will play the accompaniment tracks should be placed close to you and not right next to the streaming device.
Lighting - Avoid setting up where a window will be behind the student. If possible, add a light that shines on the student and keyboard to provide best view for the teacher.
“My Music Staff” Student Portal
Lesson notes will be posted here at the end of the lesson.
Accompaniment tracks can be accessed here.
A Link to join the zoom lesson can be found on the portal calendar.
Day of Lesson
Have your binder, all music books currently being used, a regular pencil and colored pencils ready to go.
Please be ready and waiting in zoom on time. You will be directed to a waiting room and connected as soon as your teacher is ready to start. (It may be a minute or two earlier or later than your actual lesson start time.)
Piano Student Camera Angle
Voice Student Camera Angle