online

While it’s getting more common to use the internet as a way to connect with students in many areas, it can still be a bit strange for teachers that are not used to doing online sessions, even more so if it’s a music lesson, due to the fact that there is a lot of techniques and sounds to deal with.

There are a few things to remember before starting to teach online that will make everything an experience worthwhile.

Connection

One of the most obvious things to have in mind is a stable internet connection, this will be the base of good comunication and a good class.

A good connection can change due to the places, type of connection, (Wi Fi, LAN, Mobile Data) and traffic, so it’s important for both the teacher and the students to keep these things in order.

Sound

Being music lessons, the second most important thing is the sound quality. It’s important to be able to hear each sound as clear as possible in order to maintain a good line of comunication. If the sound quality is not terrible but it’s not as good it can bring confusion and sometimes boredom to the experience.

Time Zone

Time zones is also an important aspect that can be overlooked sometimes, but the fact is that online lessons were made to work internationally, and as such, dealing with this is a must.

Good comunication and schedule managament can help with this issue, there are many platforms and apps out there that can help students and teachers organize despite the time difference.

Video Quality and Visuals

While sound is the most important aspect of a music lesson, visual support is also very important, not just for music reading, but also as a way to keep students engaged in the lesson.

According to chronicle.com:

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to enhance course appearance. A little attention to presentation goes a long way. Do you have a lot of written lecture notes or instructions? Break up long chunks of text with subheads and space between paragraphs. Embed relevant images. Include thumbnail videos that you’ve either created or sourced from YouTube, news sites, or library resources. Aim for attractive yet appropriate

From Presence to Online Connection

Every teacher has techniques, and ways to approach their students, in a way there is a sort of performance that takes place in the classroom, where a specific attitude is taken, however the “digital enviroment” may not work so well with the same performances as it would in a classroom.

That’s why there is an important process of adaptation when it comes to bringing the experience of teaching to an online lesson.

The solution, by the way, is not to post a video of yourself delivering a standard lecture in a classroom. The physical energy gets lost in that medium, too. Instead, capture your personality and your passion in ways that are different from what you might do in person, yet authentic.

Another thing to bear in mind is that it’s more difficult to know if the students are following the class.

In a physical classroom, you can pick up on nonverbal cues. When students are taking class at home, you can’t observe when you’ve lost their attention or when your instructions aren’t clear.

It’s always a good idea to get some clues about jumping into the whole internet education business, because while it may seem easy, there are many details that could turn the session into a disaster, but as most things, with practice comes perfection, and there is no better time than today to explore this fairly new way to teach and learn.

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It’s always healthy to feel like there is some competition in every discipline, this includes music. These “competitions” however, are not exclusively with another person, it also involves ourselves and surpassing our past selves.

This kind of motivation is sometimes thought to be unhealthy or unnecessary, but the truth is that it can be fuel for motivation. The thing is not to make it something bigger than it really is, what this means is that if there is someone that you feel is better at singing than you, you shouldn’t try to imitate him and win at his own game, but rather find the best that your voice can be, in order to feel like you can be as good as any other singer.

With students this can be a delicate situation sometimes, because there is always an unbalanced pool of students that teachers have to deal with. This of course doesn’t happen in online lessons, unless there is some sort of interaction between the students of one teacher which could be a good a idea.

Online lessons sometimes lack this competition between students due to the nature of the class dynamic, and in order to see if it can be possible, let’s see the flaws and benefits of these competitions, and how it could be integrated into online music lessons.

Class Room Competition

There is always that one student that is extremely talented and focused, and there is always that one student that gets frustrated because he’s not as good as the other students.  One is proud and the other frustrated. These are two profiles that often arise in a classroom, but this is not all bad, while it may cause some trouble, in the end it works as some kind of filter, where the frustrated one can go two ways, one is getting bored, slowly losing interest because it’s too difficult or not worth their frustration, or it can become an obstacle to overcome, in this case, a competition against the one with the amazing talent, and against himself in a way that pushes him to be better. However as teachers, it must be reminded to students that self satisfaction is the most important thing when it comes to competition, nothing good comes from being better than someone else as a goal, competition is the means to achieving a personal goal.

Competition in Online Lessons

The whole idea of the internet is to stay connected, to be connected with other people even though a physical connection cannot be possible, that’s why online music lessons shouldn’t be isolated one on one classes, at least not always. It’s a good idea to establish a connection between students and let them know that they can share their ideas, help each other out in a way a teacher can’t and make bonds that sometimes will end up in competitive attitudes. Another very clear way to make this competition spirit arise is to start music contests involving prizes and recognition for their work.

There are many ways to start a competition, the teacher’s job in this case is to make them remember that a competition is not a bad thing if it can be channeled into energy to learn new things and practice.

Whether it’s online or in a class room, interaction with several students in a teacher’s plan is important to develop a fuller learning environment in which students can surpass their own expectations and feel like they are closer to their goals as a musician.

 

 

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I wrote a post a while back about teaching the extremely young student. One of the comments I recently received asked about finding repertoire, and it inspired this post!

So, here are the books that I use most (and comments on what I feel are successful/not successful about them), in order of preference.  I’ve found that most young students don’t particularly connect with classical music, but often, when I start with these and a secure singing technique, I’m able to guide them into the Classical repertoire as they mature.

Disclosure: I am using here mostly links to www.SheetMusicPlus.com.  I am beginning to write for their blog (this post will be re-posted there).  I use these links instead of www.amazon.com links, where you can generally find these books at considerably lower prices, because they are sheet music specialists who will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.  Also, their song listings are complete for every book and very detailed, including visual samples of what the music inside the book looks like, so you can judge whether the book is what you’re looking for.  Their customer service is wonderful – they get back to you quickly in response to questions.  They also have an “Easy Rebates” program for teachers, schools and libraries that gives an 8% rebate on purchases you make, as well as any referrals you make (none of the links in this are rebate links for me).  They support and care about the private studio teacher, which is why I’m recommending them over low prices. [···]

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