This month, I moved from California back to the UK after nearly nine years, and brought my American husband with me. It’s been a huge change for us both, with many lists of “to do”s to handle. One aspect of my life that is different this time is that I won’t be starting my business from scratch in the UK. I’ll be taking my life-coaching clients with me— we already use phone and video skype, so my business can be undertaken from just about anywhere.
What I wasn’t expecting though was that one of my piano students would want to continue to work with me by skype. He’s a talented 11-year old pianist, currently working on a Bach Invention and a Chopin Mazurka, and he’s told his mother he doesn’t want another teacher— he wants to stick with me.
I’ve never taught piano by skype before. I know that some teachers do it, but so far I have not been keen. There are so many aspects to consider. For example, if my student focuses the webcam on his arms and hands, how will I be able to tell if his back and neck are relaxed, and he is breathing well? How will we communicate if he can’t see my face— will he have to crane down and peer in at me occasionally? If we move the camera back, will I be able to tell at such a distance if he’s using the correct fingering? And what about sound quality? Surely it can’t be very good. Plus, I’ll have to have my own copy of each of his pieces and refer to bar numbers. He’ll need to write in his own notes. It seems very complicated.
And yet this is a student I’ve had for three years, and we’re very attached to each other. I’d be delighted to continue to assist him. So I’ve told his mother that I’m willing to try it, and we’ll see.
Have any of you tried teaching by skype? Do you recommend it? What tips can you offer?