How to prepare for your first online music lesson
Updated: May 29, 2021
5 Simple steps to make the most out of your lessons.
Gone are the days when your only option was to travel long distances, wait in lounges and waiting rooms, all to attend your weekly piano, guitar, or singing lesson. Now, you can learn from the best teachers all over the world without having to leave home! Let's go over the top 7 tips to make the most of your first, or next, online music lesson.
1. Create an ideal, distraction-free, learning zone.
Distractions are part of life, and especially so when dealing with electronic devices / internet. Hence it is crucial that we first set up a distraction-free learning zone or space. This can be in a separate room, and or a common living area. The only thing you need to consider if using common spaces are the time of day you will be having your lesson, since common areas such as living rooms and dining rooms can have many people passing through at all times of the day, which in turn cause distractions. We recommend you assign a separate room such as a study or second bedroom as your music learning space. A garage, attic, basement or shed
can also be ideal spaces, provided they have adequate lighting, internet access and ventilation / temperature control. The last thing you want is a hot sweaty shed with poor lighting and an internet from the 90's. Finally, consider telling other family members what you will be doing at that time, and politely ask them not to disturb you during. Hang a "genius at work" sign on the door for maximum effect!
2. Preparation is Key!
Once your ideal space is selected and ready, you now need to setup all your equipment and technology for the lesson. The last thing you want is to waste valuable lesson time with your mentor fixing tech issues and reconnecting internet. So make sure you set up everything well in advance, then make a trial call to a family member or friend first to check that all is running smoothly! Start off by selecting your primary lesson device, which should have a decent size screen. It is highly recommended that you use a laptop and or desktop computer for maximum ease. Secondary options are iPads, and the final resort is your phone. however, small screens can be cumbersome for lessons so we highly recommend you choose a larger device, then have your phone as a backup. Next, find a spot to place the device so that it is eye level. This can be your webcam, and or your physical device being placed at a good angle so that you can be clearly seen, as well as y
our instrument. We highly recommend that you purchase an actual stand for your device so you don't fiddle with angles unnecessarily. Above all, don’t try to hold your phone up for an entire lesson. Leave the heavy lifting for the gym! If you are using your phone, be sure to deactivate incoming calls and messages until after your lesson has ended.
3. Lights, Camera, Sound
Getting these 3 aspects right can either make or break your entire experience! Let's break them down.
A well balanced light is best, such as natural outdoor light shining in from outside through a window. Just be sure that direct sunlight isn't shining on your face for your own comfort, as well as for general visibility. if at night, a warm lamp or two help, as long as the lights are not directly behind you since this will flare the camera and darken your face. Place lights next to and above you for best results.
Most will be limited in this regard in that you will be stuck to whatever camera is built into
your device. Of course, should you be on a computer, then you can really improve by purchasing a high quality web cam with at least 1080p resolution or above. These are inexpensive, and will make a big difference since your teacher needs to see you clearly!
Each device has a different microphone, which in the end are all tiny and relatively low quality. Since we don't all have studio quality audio equipment at home, the good news is that most devices are ok for a lesson. nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to improve the experience for both yourself and the teacher. On a hand held device, position yourself about a meter to one and a half meters away from yourself for best results. Experiment using headsets, earbuds, plus wired and wireless speakers. On a computer or laptop, play with your sound settings as most operating systems have options for “using original sound” as well as shutting down “automatic gain control” to improve the overall sound.
4. Choose your platform
Our preferred is WhatsApp, but depending on your location and internet situation, a different platform might suit you and your teacher better. Start by selecting your fastest internet possible (wifi or mobile date) then spend some time on the platform of your choice so that you are familiar with its use. Remember that your teacher may do a test call before your lesson begins, so be ready and online BEFORE the actual lesson time.
5. Pen and Paper
For those of you who like to take notes, now is the time. You will be learning a lot in each and every lesson, and unless you have photographic memory, you might miss an important exercise, tip or experience from the lesson. That's why we recommend you have some pen and paper (or digital note taker), ready prior to your lesson. You should also write down any questions you may have beforehand, so you can easily recall it during your lesson. After the session is over, write down any thoughts, feelings, and or questions since they can be brought up at the next session with your instructor.
One more thing. . .
As a final insider's tip... have your device charger nearby as using internet, video, Bluetooth and multiple apps will drain your battery very quickly!
Above all - HAVE FUN!
Music is one of the coolest things on this planet, and you are about to start learning how to make it yourself! At the end of the day, its about learning a new skill and or instrument, which means it should be a lot of fun! At Premiere Piano, we specialise in online learning and have been pioneering it since before COVID-19 started. Enjoy the fun, personalised and easy online sessions with our master teachers, at the convenience of your own home!
Book in a lesson today at https://www.premierepiano.shop/