Speaking from experience of teaching hundreds of Skype lessons, teaching online is something every teacher should considering doing. Nowadays, almost everyone has built-in audio/video capabilities on their computer, and Internet speeds on average are faster than ever before. Back in 2010, I would have told you that making a living teaching music lessons online had too many issues. Five years later, I’m telling you it not only works, but it’s the wave of the future.
Don’t get me wrong about this, as nothing beats the one-on-one attention you are giving your students in a private lesson setting. But how many times have you heard any of the statements below from your students or incoming leads?
1. I’m too busy for lessons.
2. The location is too far for me to travel.
3. I can’t afford it.
I find major disappointment when a student I enjoy teaching decides to “take a break,” for any of the reasons above. In my experience, this often results in the student never coming back to take lessons again, and could result in them quitting the violin altogether. I don’t know about you, but I hate the thought of that happening to any student.
Utilizing Webinars to Teach Students
One thing you can do, is offer your students the option of attending your organized online webinars. These are much easier to setup than you think, and offer students an alternative (or supplementary) solution to private lessons. An online webinar is basically a broadcast (normally 30-90 minutes long), that allows you to teach a group class, with your students watching attentively on the other side of the screen. You can decide what questions are appropriate to answer, how visible your students are to the others in the class, and can have everyone muted during specific times in your lecture. Unlike an in-person group class that might be difficult to keep in order, an online webinar gives you the digital solution of effectively teaching as many students as you like at one time.
How to Present Online Webinar Classes as an Alternative Solution to Private Lessons
Let’s break down the three common scenarios that causes a student to "take a break" from private lessons (too busy, too far, too much). Here are some things you could say to hopefully keep them continuing lessons with you.
1. I know you mentioned you are pretty busy right now, but I was wondering if you might have the time to attend my monthly online webinar class? I have organized them for all my students in the 4-6 year range, and many of my students in this ability level range attend this class. It would be a great way for you to continue learning and avoid you building any bad habits.
2. I know you have temporarily moved, but I would still like to offer you the ability to continue learning through my online webinar. These are classes where I am specifically teaching at various skill ranges, and you can attend them in the comfort of your home via webcam. Maybe this would be a potential solution for you to keep learning until you are back in town!
3. I know you have hit a financial hardship, so let me offer you an alternative solution. You can attend my affordable online webinar classes, which allow you to learn with others around the same ability level as you. When things get better for you financially, you can decide from there if you want to continue back with private lessons.
With the online class options, you are allowing students the ability to get through the tough times, where they could easily drift away from learning the violin. Here are a few examples. I think of one student back in 2012 that had so much potential to become a great violinist, but was limited by a 45 minute drive to my house, and the financial stress of being in college. I also think of a homeschool family that used to do weekly lessons with me, that got too busy with their seasonal activities. What both of these situations had in common is that the students never came back, and I found out later they both lost interest in playing the violin all together. If I would have given them the option to do a monthly online class with me, who knows how differently things would have gone.
How to Setup the Webinars
Here is how you could start doing these online webinars. To start, you organize a set of classes you feel would appeal most to your student base. It could be as general as having each class target a certain ability level, or having classes specifically for certain types of students (like homeschoolers). You would then block off time once a month to hold each these classes, and tell your students when they are happening. Regarding functionality, my suggestion would be to use Go-to-Webinar (what I’m using), or Google Hangouts (what I've used in the past). What I like about Go-to-Webinar is it allows the students to easily sign up for the classes, offers them reminders before the class begins, and can send out an automatic follow-up email to get their feedback.
How Much To Charge for the Webinar Classes
Personally, I believe nothing is more valuable than a dedicated student. With so many distractions these days, it is very easy to use money in other areas when you are not so sure about continuing your violin studies.
I also think a teacher’s time is valuable, so you can proceed with how you structure payment for the classes as you wish. Obviously, the cost should be much less expensive compared to what you would charge for a private lesson. Personally, most of the classes I’m offering are free, and for those that really enjoy them and want more, I’m offering other paid services (private Skype lessons, additional webinars, etc.). This allows those that just want to stay in the loop to still be a part of your program, and your hope would be that they take private lessons or buy products from you in the future.
If you’re interested in checking out my online violin webinars , I currently have class details hosted on my website. If you are a teacher and would like some help getting started, you could attend some of my webinars as an expert panelist. This would allow you to teach lessons with me on the platform, and has worked well for helping teachers get their feet wet with how to run a class. If you are interested in participating as a panelist, send me an email at email@example.com. I’m also holding classes for teachers/professionals that are interested in general discussion and/or growing their music studio.
More entries: March 2015
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