Experience with online teachers
After studying (face-to-face until the onset of the pandemic) with the same individual for four years, it is time to move on. Since I lived in an area with very limited access to qualified teachers who can teach late intermediate/early advance repertoire, I am actively exploring the online option. My sense is that most teaching, if it is done at all, is done online these days. I would appreciate if some of you would share your experience and recommendations on online lesssons.
I've continued to take lessons with my teacher, Emil Chudnovsky, online during the pandemic (at least until my frozen shoulder halted my playing); I haven't really noticed much of a difference in lesson efficacy in-person vs online. Emil's studio is mostly kids, but he does teach several adults (from the intermediate level up). Emil routinely taught some students online pre-pandemic, as well, so I assume he's likely to be willing to continue online post-pandemic.
I've had only online lessons after just a handful of in-person lessons in 2016. The teachers in my area who teach advanced viola repertoire either don't accept adults or don't have workable time slots.
I really can't stand online lessons. It's unfulfilling... that chemistry between me and the teacher is all lost when squeezed through a screen. It ends up feeling contrived and awkward, and leaves a bad feeling about me when the lesson ends. I guess I'm an old soul, but I have a hunch a lot of people (teachers too) feel this way and aren't saying anything.
I agree with Cotton. The experience of in person lessons trumps online for me. I only put up witj online because the alternative is no input whatsoever, other than myself. Although saying that, I have a first lesson next week with a new teacher which is exciting
It's REALLY frustrating to try to get your teacher's fingerings online. I waste a lot of time in my lessons trying to get fingerings. Especially since my teacher's not great about keeping her entire fingerboard in the camera frame.
I'm glad to see so much talk about chemistry!
The secret to a good room setup is to have a standalone, tripod-mounted webcam. My Zoom Q4n gave up the ghost, and I replaced it with a Zoom Q8, which works nicely. I have it mounted on the cheap Amazon Basics tripod (which is sturdy, portable, and convenient), so I can crank the camera up to the right height and move it to capture my whole upper body. I have a 17" laptop on small table and I've considered getting a really big monitor (like a 32" widescreen) to make things easier.
I have been taking online piano lessons, and I find the lessons are EXCELLENT-- better than live lessons! The lessons are pre-recorded, and each module contains both a video and a text section with sheet music. The teacher is extremely articulate when explaining, and a terrific player when demonstrating. The course, Learn Piano Blues, is way cheaper than live lessons will ever be. Having access to the lessons online, I can go back and repeat whatever and whenever I wish (middle of the night? sure!) and advance as quickly or as slowly as I want to. The reason these lessons are so great is that the teacher has organized the material with great care, advancing in technique just one step at a time. The teacher (Martin Carline) is so experienced that he knows what needs to be emphasized, and he anticipates the student's mistakes--warns you not to miss the Bb in bar 4, for example. I never would have guessed that video lessons could be so valuable, but these lessons are more informative and much less inconvenient than live lessons. IF you have a teacher who knows what they are doing, you can progress successfully without a live lesson. P.S. I have heard so many discouraging things about Zoom and Facetime lessons that I have never even tried them. Online, you have teachers all over the world to choose from. Take advantage!!! Until trying this method due to pandemicness, I never would have believed it could be so rewarding. I think I am progressing much faster than if I had to wait for a weekly in-person lessons. It's great.
after Ray Chen's video on finding teachers on fiverr.com, which my daughter assures me is a paid ad, I checked it out and have had some excellent lessons with a teacher from Venice Italy just using skype with no special equipment. No diminishment in quality of lesson being online- is great!
I have been teaching online for over a year now and have been very pleasantly surprised at how much my students and I have been able to accomplish. Of course there are disadvantages, but there are some advantages too. We actually get more instructional time in an hour because the student can already be tuned and ready at the start of the lesson.
I find it quite helpful, but I also have been studying with my teacher beforehand for like 8 years, so it might be really disconcerting to start with someone who has never heard you play in person.
By the way, David, based on the repertoire you've already played in your bio, I would imagine that you're definitely an advanced student, not an intermediate one. The difference is meaningful, as many teachers do not normally go beyond the intermediate level.
Like others here, I’ve been teaching online only for over a year and my large studio is thriving online. I now have 8 students I’ve never met in-person and I feel like we still have a good rapport (after all people start dating relationships online all the time- you need much less “chemistry” for a student/teacher working relationship).
Thanks to all for your suggestions.
I can see some benefit to finding someone reasonably close: after the pandemic, even if still taking lessons mostly online, it may be possible to schedule the occasional in-person lesson. If I were taking lessons from a teacher 2 hours away, a schedule of online lessons most weeks and one in-person lesson a month might be workable.
Stephen, I am, as Andrew mentioned, looking for online lessons with the option of having face-to-face lessons later. While local access to qualified teachers at my stage of development is somewhat limited, a metro area (with a "major league" orchestra and a well-respected chamber orchestra) is about two hours away. I am hopeful that I would find someone there.
Mary Ellen wrote, "I’m shocked that anyone would take up lesson time with dictating fingerings however. It’s very easy to scan marked up music with a phone app and send it to my students in advance."
For common pedagogically-taught works, most teachers probably have a copy marked up for student use (vs. personal use, as artistic choices might be different).
I did not want to go online when the pandemic hit but I've been pleasantly surprised at how well the video lessons have been going. I'm actually planning on teaching both in person and online when I can have students back in the studio.
Paul, Chemistry rules!
Ann, of course, but that is true regardless of online or in person lessons.