11 Advantages of violin lessons by Skype and 8 Tips to make it work for you
More and more teachers and students are interested in Skype music lessons. At first technology wasn’t good enough to have a fluent lesson which has all the advantages of a ‘normal’ music lesson.
Now... most people have the suitable 'gear' (hardware, software, internet connection etc.) which make it possible to have a good lesson by Skype.
Why should you even think about Skype music lessons? What are the advantages?
My experience is that a Skype lesson can have ALL the advantages of a ‘normal’ lesson... IF you do it right!
- You can select your ideal teacher regardless of geography. This gives you lots of freedom. You are not dependent on the number and the type of teachers that are living near you. If you don’t have a (suitable) teacher living near you or you know a better teacher elsewhere... think about taking Skype lessons.
- You can have lessons when you (or your teacher) are on holiday. You are never forced to part for geographic reasons.
- You can easily make recordings of the lessons, which can be very useful for a student to view the lesson later on or for a teacher to develop teaching materials (for example to show other students).
- When your yummy teacher moves to another area, you don’t have to end whatever you have build up. You can just continue the lessons.
- As a teacher you don’t need to say ‘goodbye’ to all your yummy students and take all the effort to find new students when you move to another place. You are free to live wherever you like. You are free to travel around the world and keep expanding your teaching studio!
- You don’t need a separate teaching studio. If you teach, your neighbours will only hear when you play: they will not hear your students play when you use a headphone.
- You can have lessons at hours that normally don’t allow lessons (you might not like going on the streets at a late hour, but this might be just the time that you have time to take lessons).
- If the weather doesn’t cooperate... it doesn’t hurt you when you have Skype lessons. Just turn the heater a bit higher ;)!
- You can’t catch the flu from each other!
- Students will be very independant: they have to tune their instrument theirselves (which is good to start early with). You can’t push them in a position, so they have to do it theirselves with your instructions in the lesson... in this way they will be better able to do it theirselves while practising.
- I think it’s great to teach people all over the world, improve my English and learn about other cultures. It just brings all of us on this planet closer together! All of what I learn I can use in my lessons.
Here are some tips for teachers and students who are considering taking or giving a Skype lesson.
Zlata wrote this article from lots of experience with teaching violin by Skype and developing e-learning materials to combine with Skype violin lessons.
- Check the internet connection, software and hardware BEFORE the lesson starts. Don’t wait until the actual appointment. If something is not working, you need to have the time to solve it. Test the Skype session before you make a final appointment for the lesson. Do this by calling each other by Skype and check if you can hear and see each other good enough.
- If you have a teaching style that is really ‘hands-on’, think about if you can do without and what you will do to replace it. If you can’t do without and it’s an important part of your teaching style, perhaps Skype lessons are not something that works for you as a teacher. No worries: there is nothing wrong with 'traditional' teaching. Skype is just an 'extra'.
- Think about who is making notes and how! As a teacher you can make notes in Skype, so your student reads them in Skype chat. You can also draw things and write things down to scan and mail them after the lesson. The students can make notes theirselves during or after de lesson. You can e-mail the notes and homework to the students. Think about what works best for you! In any case: make a decision about it before you start. I personally use a list of questions that students can answer for themselves after the lesson to evaluate the lesson.
- Decide where you sit behind your computer! Lots of people have a small corner somewhere in the house where they sit behind their computer. To give or take Skype lessons, you need a tidy looking place with enough room. You need to be able to make all the necessary movements and show them from different perspectives. This means you have to be able to go further from your desk, closer to your desk, turn around etc. Is your office big and tidy enough for that?
- Decide how your student will pay for the lessons. You can use Paypal, a webshop system, bank transfer, whatever... you choose!
- Decide who you will take as a Skype student. It will probably work out for adults, but will you teach children over Skype? If yes, from what age and do you want the parents to be present? Will you also teach handicapped or mentally challenged students over Skype? Will you give group lessons using a conference call?
- Will you make recordings? If yes, what software will you use for that? How will you make the recordings. I recommend 'Call recorder': it’s very simple to use. Will you share the recording with your student or will your student make the recording? What about copyright? Give it all a thought, so you have answers to potential questions or issues.
- Invest in hardware and software as an international Skype violin teacher. You have to be able to set a good example. Your students deserve that you have a good external microphone, good software (for example for recordings), a fast and reliable computer and a fast internet connection (glass fiber preferably). When something goes wrong technologically... I think it shouldn't be you. Just as you invest in your knowledge and your instrument, these are investments for becoming an international teacher.
In this way she is able to help violinists world wide realizing their musical goals and dreams, which is her purpose. She wants to make Skype violin lessons very accessible, so she offers private Skype violin lessons for a ‘no-brainer’ price. Would you like to know more or try it out? Click here
for more information.
I hope this article is useful for you and will help you in deciding if and how you are going to do something with Skype violin lessons. I am curious... do you have experience with Skype violin lessons? Does it work for you? Or totally not? Please share your experiences in the comments below!
Have a wonderful musical weekend!
Violinist and Skype violin teacher at Violin Lounge