How to Upgrade Your Technical Setup for Online Violin Lessons

August 6, 2020, 2:30 PM · Are you set up for smooth learning online, or are your lessons plagued with issues like bad sound, bad visibility and Internet glitching?

online lessons

With fall arriving and music lessons (and school) continuing online, it might be time time to solve some of those issues in order to lay the foundation a better learning experience, with less frustration due to technology. This guide is meant to help teachers, students and their parents to best use the equipment that they have, and also to make suggestions, should you wish to upgrade or supplement your equipment.

This two-page PDF "Tech Set Up Guide" covers set-up, equipment, Zoom settings, and Internet lag trouble-shooting suggestions. The microphone suggestions are for inexpensive but decent options, not deluxe options. The fact remains that any mic is a huge improvement over the computer mic! The guide also includes suggestions for optimizing your home set-up, in terms of organizing your room and getting the right camera angle.

This guide can be pinned to your wall, emailed to students, or used in any other way that is useful to you. You can post it, scribble on it, share it. It’s yours and I hope it is useful. Happy online learning and teaching!

Please click on image for enlarged, printable PDF.

Tech Guide

Tech Guide

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Replies

August 7, 2020 at 03:13 AM · Several months ago, I bought the Fifine USB microphone for the purpose of Zoom violin lessons and for my online violin exam later this year. It has not been easy working out how to get decent sound from a recording of my violin (even accepting I am an amateur player). My advice is:

- Play in a large-ish room with high ceilings,

- Place the microphone somewhat lower than the violin because it doesn't cope well with higher frequencies, i.e. not directed at the f holes

- Place it *at least* two metres away from the violin, on a sound-absorbing surface like a blanket or quilt, away from any sound-reflective walls. Further would be probably better if possible.

- As the microphone cord is only a metre long, one has to rely on Bluetooth speakers or earbuds for sound, unless wired earbuds have a cord longer than 1 metre.

- Turn the microphone's input volume dial to about half.

- This microphone is placed vertically, so the recording source is at the side of the column. However, in addition, don't "face" the side at the violin but offset it.

Hope this helps someone!

August 7, 2020 at 02:32 PM · Thanks for the helpful handout, Susanna! Great to have the guidance for families of students as well as myself for the fall.

August 8, 2020 at 04:22 AM · Kelly, thanks for these microphone tips! I will try out the placement of the mic below for sure. Carol, glad the guide is useful!!

August 8, 2020 at 05:41 AM · I agree with most of this, but I don't agree that you need a download speed of 100MB. 10MB would be sufficient. If you think about it, the teacher is streaming at the maximum speed permitted by their upload speed, so the pupil having the ability to download the stream at 20 times that rate is not going to lead to an enhanced experience.

August 8, 2020 at 01:32 PM · Hi Tony, you are correct about the download speed not needing to be as high, it's actually the upload speed that matters the most. The issue is that you can't get higher upload without also getting higher download speed, ie. it's a package deal with most internet providers.

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