Using Music Teacher’s Helper

Useful tips for how to get the most out of your Music Teacher’s Helper subscription, and save time managing your music studio.

In this article:

  • Sound adjustments to optimize Zoom for music
  • Zoom settings for teaching private lessons
  • Tips on teaching live workshops or classes
  • Integrating Zoom into Music Teachers Helper

Note that this article is being updated from time to time with new info, and your comments at the end are welcome!

Sound Settings for Private Lessons

Zoom was created in 2013 by two guys who left Go To Meeting to start up something better. It was built for voice meetings, the typical business use for teleconferencing. But there are settings you can adjust within Zoom to make it work better for hearing music.

Uncheck the option to automatically control volume. This is located in the Audio Settings once you’ve started a meeting. Using the up-arrow next to the image of the microphone, click on Audio Settings on the “drop-up” menu. You’ll find the automatic volume control checkbox right under the Microphone settings. (Note that this allows you to — and might require you to — occasionally adjust your microphone input manually so people can hear you better.)

Disable noise suppression. Before leaving the Audio Settings window,  [···]

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How are you doing with the new software? Here’s a window into how I’m adjusting to it as a teacher — I hope you find this helpful!

I’ve used Music Teachers Helper since way back in 2006. Nearly all updates to the system have included real improvements, and there was one major update some years ago that required some getting used to. I’m happy that the new version stays the course but provides a number of improvements, including one feature I’m excited about — the File Area. This is a feature I used to use it all the time but the last major upgrade made the File Area less workable for me. Now it’s better than ever, and I’m looking forward to working with it again! Yay!

I’m going to focus here on a few essentials I use in my studio plus a few favorite features — emailing, the student list, lesson notes, selected uses of the calendar and its settings, and the File Area.

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I have learned a lot from my dog, and I realized recently that some of it ties right into teaching music!

There are the stern dog trainers, intent on reducing the dog to an obedient creature paying as little attention to other dogs and the world as is convenient for the owner. But then there are the dog whisperers, the ones who know their dog so well that they know the right time to ask the right thing of them, knowing that dogs want to please when they love their owner.

In my case, I learned that if every single interaction with my dog was positive, she was open to anything I wanted her to do.

If you apply that philosophy to teaching music, you end up with a very observant and carefully crafted system of working with students. When a student doesn’t do things you want — practice, follow your advice, or even do what you just asked them to do, for example — what do you do? Intimidate? Stress that you know what they should do and they don’t? Lay down an ultimatum?

There is certainly a place for challenging students and seeing if they can rise to the occasion. However, if they don’t do what you want, there are more interesting and constructive options than applying force (repetition, punishment, intimidation, contracts, etc.).

If you decide you are going to make every interaction a positive one, this does not at all mean praising where no praise is due. What it really means is   [···]

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