online lessons

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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A while ago, I blogged about online lessons wondering if they were for the birds.  Since then I’vephoto-2 begun my online training with Bradley Sowash in pursuit of playing in various styles beyond the page. Some may call what I’m learning “Jazz” but it’s more than that. Jazz is not just a style of music but a uniquely American approach to creating music which can be applied to any style.

In an effort to journal my progress I usually record myself showing my best efforts AFTER I’ve practiced and perfected my improvisation assignment from Bradley. He continues to challenge me with his online, methodical and expert instruction. With limited time to practice, I decided I’d come clean and let you in on the photo-3somewhat messy process BEFORE “perfection” or let’s say “close to perfection” occurs.

What you’ll see in the video below shows how I tolerated cleaning my bathroom–not my favorite chore–by allowing myself periodic breaks to practice. Come to think of it, this would be a good way to encourage my students to practice. Parents could offer two options: practice or clean a bathroom! [···]

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Thanks to a slightly skeptical nature, I’ve held little interest in virtual long-distant lessons for three reasons.1320790122282390135bird-on-wire-svg-med-1

  1. Full Roster: My studio stays full thanks to living in a large metropolitan area so it seems pointless to look for online customers.
  2. Time: With the commitment of a full-time organist/pianist position, it would be difficult to squeeze in more practice time if I committed to lessons for myself–locally or beyond my bubble–with a master teacher.
  3. Trouble:  Why would anyone wish to trouble shoot their way through an hour-long battle with camera angles, band width limitations and WiFi glitches?

My view of online teaching changed drastically thanks to a recent business partnership with master improv teacher Bradley Sowash and our venture called 88 Creative Keys (camps and clinics for creativity at the keys.) I realized that if I was to achieve a higher level of improvisational skills, it was paramount for me to study with Bradley who happens to live in Ohio. Not willing to make a commute from Colorado to Ohio every other Wednesday morning, it was clear I must submit to the “wonders” of technology yet once again. [···]

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