Where can teachers learn how to operate camera & sound effectively for better online teaching?

June 1, 2020, 2:34 PM · In an earlier post, I commented on how many teachers are inept at video teaching, because of poor equipment and/or inability to use their equipment effectively. Then I wondered, what resources are available to teachers to improve their knowledge of this relatively new medium? Especially now, safe at home....
If you know where someone new to online teaching can learn more about how to operate the camera and sound equipment most effectively, please post here so the knowledge can be available and shared with those who have no other resource for learning. Thank you!

Replies (3)

June 1, 2020, 2:48 PM · I think that SkillShare (a website/app) would have something for that. From what I hear, the instructional videos are high quality
June 3, 2020, 5:03 AM · I have found that the best way to learn is to experiment -- once you have a camera and mic hooked up to your computer (see other threads on possible equipment to buy and use) you need to try it out.

If you have a friend who is also a musician that would be best -- ask them to offer advice as you set up a Zoom or Skype or Facetime or whatever lesson with them. My wife and I have found that Zoom offers the best sound possibilities and best video (but of course all that is dependent on the equipment the students have).

Most of us here who are doing online teaching have had to learn by the seat of our pants, trial and error.

I know of no web-site that offers instruction in this, but perhaps a search of youtube might provide some good videos on doing online instruction.

Edited: June 3, 2020, 9:24 AM · Most people get some kind of initial round of advice on gear and basic setup from someone they trust -- for example, their good friends here at violinist.com!! And if you scroll back through the blogs, you'll see that established teachers who seem justifiably proud of their setups have described them in detail with photographs of their studio showing where their mikes, monitors, keyboards, writing surfaces, chairs, cameras, and all of that are laid out. Look up Carrie Salisbury for example (link below, two most recent blogs). I am enrolled in Nathan Cole's Violympics, and he gave a video tour of his garage-studio and showed us how his lighting and microphones work.

https://www.violinist.com/directory/bio.cfm?member=violadiva

So let's get started. What do you have now? Are you using your phone or a laptop? How much can you spend? Do you have anything special that you're trying to accomplish? (Piano teachers often need an additional overhead keyboard-cam, for example.) Are you just giving Skype or Zoom lessons? Or are you hoping to produce video content for your studio too?

After you get your first batch of gear, then you arrange for a colleague to Zoom or Skype with you (or whatever you are using) and play their violin and talk, and listen to you play your violin and talk, while you are adjusting your microphone position, settings, lighting, and so on. Then you can decide whether to send the gear back for something else, or work with what you have, or order yet more gear to enhance your capabilities. That's the trial-and-error part that David was describing. Where trial-and-error doesn't work particularly well is choosing your gear in the first place because ordering and delivery is a slow process right now, and you could be responsible for return shipping and restocking fees.

As for software like Zoom or Skype, there are an infinite number of YouTube training videos for those. Zoom has its own YouTube channel full of training videos, for example, and they're quite useful. You just have to sit down and watch them. I suggest popcorn.

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