lessons

It’s true that the internet has been around for quite some time now and we are quite used to video conferencing as a means to communicate with friends and family.

It’s also true that when it comes to other things such as teaching, video calls were not a first choice even more so with music lessons.

However we have been forced to embrace video calls and other tools in order to keep teaching, and we’ve learned that it is actually a great alternative even if we think of a world 100% free of Covid 19.

It’s been almost a year since we adapted to this way of teaching, but that is a relatively short amount of time.

That is why it may be a good idea to stop for a moment and review the tools available in order to make the most out of video conferencing.

Video Conferencing as a Music Teacher

This is not a tool but,it is a reminder that you must find the tools that suit your job.

There is a focus on sound quality and a good connection when it comes to online music lessons.

Video conferencing can be messy at first but there are some things that have to meet a certain standard if you are going to teach music.

Under this idea, let’s review a few tools.

Zoom

It’s no secret that Zoom was the most used video conferencing platform in 2020. It’s very stable, it offers great video and audio quality, it lets you record calls and it’s very easy to use.

One of the pros of this platform is that it has the highest capacity of people in one call without any issues. Of course the limit is 500, and you’re probably not going to be giving a lesson to that many students at the same time but, it does show how stable the platform is.

There is however, a free version and a paid version. While the free version covers most of the features you’ll need as a music teacher, there are some things such as scheduling and a cloud recording storage that are only available if you get the pro version at $14.99 a month or the enterprise version which gives you access to an unlimited storage for $19.99 a month.

In general Zoom is a very good choice and it will work just fine for your music lessons.

Rock Out Loud

Video Conferencing

There are many reasons why Rock Out Loud could be the best choice for you, but the main reason is that it is a platform with a focus on music.

This is important because not only does it offer a higher quality audio codec but it also offers features that enhance the learning experience such as on screen chords and on screen music sheets.

This is one of the features that set it apart from other video conferencing tools as it allows you to see your students, and teach with the instrument in hand without having to switch to a presentation mode to screen share or get the camera close to a book.

It’s very useful, but if you want to screen share, you also have that option.

When it comes to all the other important aspects of a video conferencing platform, it’s very good, offering a great quality audio, video and a stable connection.

However it doesn’t get close to the amount of people Zoom can hold in a call, with a limit of 35 people, although most teachers probably have less than that in one online lesson.

It’s also very easy to use for both teachers and students.

It also offers a free version, a paid version with lesson rooms for $9.95, and the most expensive version at 13.99 for multi lesson rooms and the ability to assign sheet music to each room.

for more information check out the Rock Out Loud Live website.

Skype

Skype has been around for a while and most people are familiar with it which can be one of its strengths.

It’s free and offers all the basic things you need for a video call but it is one of the most limited and it does have some issues with performance and there are some problems sometimes when adding contacts.

They’ve recently added the Meet Now product, which enables hosts and participants to create and join a video call without making an account or downloading the app.

Skype has been around for quite some time so it’s safe, easy to use and it offers a seamless user experience, but if you want to think outside the box when thinking of your music lessons, it may be best to think about other options.

Google Hangouts

After all we’ve mentioned before, what could Google Hangouts offer that the other platforms don’t? one of the good things is that, like Zoom, you don’t need to have an account, you just need the link to go to the call which can be useful sometimes.

The big thing about Google Hangouts is its connection to all other google platforms such as gmail and google calendar, which helps with accessibility.

Other than that is good, it’s free but nothing particularly amazing.

Others

There are other options that can be of use but not as the main platform, such as Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, and many others.

These shouldn’t be your main platform mainly because it doesn’t offer the level of quality that other platforms have, due to the fact that social media isn’t specialized in video conferencing, but still, it can work as support tools.

As always if you got the video call covered but you still need to manage your own studio and music lessons, Music Teacher’s Helper can be a great tool to support you as a teacher.

 

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Guitar lessons sometimes seem like an easy task, but keeping your students engaged is a very hard task.

Sometimes, exploring is a good way to make your lessons fresh, and while it may seem distant, some youtube creators manage to be great teachers.

Rick Beato is one of those content creators on youtube, he is a music teacher, producer and has been making content on YouTube for quite a while, getting over 2 million subscribers on the platform.

One of the biggest difficulties when it comes to guitar lessons is that beginners find it very hard to play the first notes and chords, but in reality there are a few tips that can

That’s where Rick’s videos come in.

Varied Content

Rick Beato’s channel has a lot of different content, of course, all of it about music but, one of the most interesting things about him is that his taste is hard to define.

You can easily click a video from him and watch him break down a Beethoven piece, one analyzing the top 10 songs on spotify or getting every detail about Phil Collins’ drums.

Why is this important? Well first of all he is able to connect with a wider audience instead of dismissing certain genres. This also reverberates in his teaching and tutorials,  because he knows his audience comes from many different places.

When he gets into the guitar lessons, he won’t teach classical, rock, jazz, flamenco, that is up to the person learning.

Guitar Lessons

Guitar Lessons

There are a few videos on guitar lessons by Rick, but there is one that is worth checking out as he talks about the experience teaching his children how to play guitar during lockdown.

He then proceeds to talk about some of the things that every beginner should remember when starting to learn how to play guitar.

In this video Rick helps solve some of the most common mistakes every beginner makes when starting to play guitar. These common issues are:

Rhythm and Strumming

Most people have a hard time strumming and at first the play the guitar with the thumb strumming down, and then with a bit more time they let loose of the wrist, however there is no rhythm

Finger Positioning

At first when learning chords, it feels like a strange game of twister where your fingers feel uncomfortable, and it may seem like a very common problem with easy solutions, but some of these solutions can really take a beginner a long way with just a few tips.

Sometimes it’s about the transitions between one chord to the other, and other times it comes to scales, but there is no denying that finger positioning is something that is very easy to get wrong, and because it is something so basic, it’s easy to feel discouraged from learning the instrument right away.

Not Muting Strings Properly

Many beginners don’t pay attention to what they are actually supposed to play, what this means is that they may get the strumming and finger positioning, but if they are playing notes that shouldn’t actually be played, it’s going to sound messy and bad.

This is also due to the fact that the strings that should be muted are usually the open strings, this makes it so that, if it is played, it’s going to be very present in the chord.

From one Chord to Another

It feels so hard to finally get every finger in place and then they have to change in order to play another chord.

This is often one of the first hardest things a beginner guitarrist face.

It’s not just about doing it, it’s also about maintaining the rhythm of the strumming intact while doing it.

The solution to these beginner guitar issues can be solved in many ways.

Today the recomendation is to watch Rick Beato’s tips, not only because it’s not a very long video, it’s because every minute of it will be useful when confronting your new guitar.

Why Are His Videos Worth Your Time?

Rick is an experienced teacher, but he manages to show so much in so little time that it makes for perfect content for YouTube.

Today, many people of all ages start to learn how to play instruments and get into music through YouTube and this can be a very interesting learning process.

Getting to this channel can be quite good for a beginner not just because of guitar lessons, but the way he approaches every music genre and respects every different type of sound.

This can be seen in other videos where he breaks down songs or goes through music in the form of video essay/class and it can be a very interesting and fun learning experience for a beginner musician.

 

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While most people have been able to overcome the issues that COVID 19 brought to the world, some are not problems that are easily solved, instead most people have found other ways to teach.

For music teachers, these last few months have been extremely challenging, even more so when it comes to teaching how to play a new instrument, because not every method of teaching can be translated into an online format. This began to worry many music teachers around the world, and some even talk about the “lost generation of performers”.

According to an article by the sandiegouniontribune.com, it’s said that:

“Research has shown that an arts education improves school climate and culture, and increases student and parent engagement — ultimately contributing to improved academic achievement,”

But it all changes if there is no shared experience or school climate, and the fact that many of the music students out there don’t really have access to computers, internet or an instrument. It’s easy to say that we can overcome the difficulties of covid with the internet but there are two bumps on the road. First, as stated before, not everyone has access to stable internet in order to engage in a music lesson. Second, there is no way to replicate the experience that music students have in a class room, even with instruments, and perfect internet connection.

The lie is that everything can stay the same when in this conditions, and while we may come out of this soon completely, there is still the need for online lessons for now and the future, for many different reasons.

One of the good things we can take out of this experience is learning how to work with what we have when there is no possibility of going to music school.

“The mantra is: Let’s try. If we can make the best of this situation, we’ll all — students, teachers, parents — be better people when we come out of it.”

Motivated to Learn

While there are many aspects of the class itself that are lost during online sessions, there’s one thing that we usually say we don’t have enough of it, that is time.

Yes lessons won’t be as engaging because students can’t interact with the enviroment, friends, and teachers the same way, but there is enough space for students to find themselves as musicians or maybe just give up.

In normal circumstances, it doesn’t matter how much classes a student attends to, or how good the teacher is, if music is not his or her thing, there will always be a missing piece. This “piece” is what determines if music is the thing someone should pursue or if it’s just for fun. That can’t be taught, everyone must find out on their own.

Imagine a music student with too much free time, that doesn’t have an internet connection, or any kind of instrument, but loves music, chances are this young musician will find the way to get an instrument, or sing in order to practice.

The point is, there is no need to worry that much about that “lost generation of performers” if anything, it could be a filter when it comes to students who are in the world of music because the want to be, and students who are told to study music just like any other school class.

A Different Approach

It’s obvious that an online session is very different than being in a regular classroom but it’s not all bad.

A teacher could find an oportunity to encourage creativity and composition since students have a freedom that is not available in a traditional music class. Focus on the few benefits and there may be a whole new unexplored experience.

There is no need to worry, music is not going anywhere, and aspiring musicians will be more encouraged than ever to learn.

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