For online teachers/students

Edited: August 25, 2020, 12:42 PM · I've been on Zoom lessons since March, and even after this is over my teacher will have a mix of Zoom and in-person lessons. He feels he teaches better online and I don't mind the mix of the two after this is over - as long as it is a mix.

My question is for those doing online lessons - from either direction. In order to set up for my Zoom lesson I prefer to stand - but for him to see me properly I'm standing so close to my laptop that I feel cramped, tense, which doesn't help me to play my best.

So, is it better to stand further away so I can play properly (and he tells me my Yeti is picking up very well) and step closer upon request - or better to remain positioned as i am. I will ask him as well, I'm curious how other students approach this. I can't be the only one with this issue.

I will say that Zoom has worked better than I thought it would - and I've progressed far more quickly since March than I thought possible in these circumstances.

Replies (6)

Edited: August 25, 2020, 1:35 PM · As a teacher (retired for the past 14 years) who has never used virtual teaching I know I would want you to be as close to the camera as possible BUT far enough away to me able to see both your hands all the time. I did watch some of my adult son's virtual lessons but they were not on ZOOM and did not give simultaneous teacher feedback.

When teaching I always wanted to be able to "see" how a student's muscles were working under their skin, because that's where the magic is made to happen - there and in the brain. I probably would not have been good teaching remotely.

What is a Yeti?

Edited: August 25, 2020, 1:40 PM · A Yeti is a pretty good USB microphone that I use for lessons - and have also started using it for work meetings online. My teacher is VERY happy with the quality of the sound - there are better but I think this was the best choice for my budget.

My teacher initially thought I paid far too much - but as things have developed has since told me it was a very good investment (~$135)

August 25, 2020, 3:51 PM · Catherine, et al.,

As one who is steeped in Doflein I'm finding it frustrating to teach over the internet because Doflein is based on student & teacher duets. A lot of the fun of making music together is lost.

I have made a few adaptations. As I only have a few students I hold daily 15 minute lessons where we focus on developing a particular skill of fixing a problem within the context of a piece of music that the student likes and wants to play.

So far it is working and each session shows incremental improvement. Actually from my perspective it is working but just isn't satisfying.

I did try recording the teacher part of the duets for my students to play along with (my own "Music-minus-one") but they don't like using them.

August 25, 2020, 7:13 PM · I would prefer that a student stand properly (or their usual way, which may or may not be proper so I can address it...) and move if I need to see something specific. Generally, having the camera at eye level and showing upper body and both arms/hands is enough. Sometimes, I have to remind them not to have their devices below and pointing up at them. (I've seen most of my students outside/distanced and that is when I remember that I mostly didn't see their lower half or their back side! Twisted torso, locked knees, and restless feet are common issues with elementary school age.)

I also do video exchange with my younger/less advanced students, making short practice segments for them that show a better angle, better picture, and better sound than Zoom, and they are supposed to send back an example of the segment, with a close-up if applicable. Even the Bach Double and up students are supposed to send me certain recordings (for accountability, audio quality, diagnostic, or verification) although they don't often need demos back from me.

August 26, 2020, 1:13 PM · I agree with Andrew that as close as possible, but still able to see both hands is ideal. I’ve got a couple of young students who tend to move outside of the camera and/or stand so close I can’t see their bow arm/hand and that can be frustrating. On the other hand, I find I notice all sorts of different things from the unusual angles students sometimes use.
I teach most lessons from my iPad Pro, no mic with no issues. Zoom is not my favorite online platform for lessons (I prefer FaceTime when possible).
Edited: August 26, 2020, 6:38 PM · My teacher prefers Zoom, and it seems to be working fine for us - especially after I upgraded my microphone. Today I experimented and found a better position where I no longer feel cramped and can move/play more naturally, and he can see what he needs to see. I've also upgraded my internet speed so, hopefully, can move this back to my practice room rather than having to take my Covid home office apart for my lesson. We do what we must :-)

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