6 FAQs for laptop Zoom success

These 6 FAQs offer solutions to achieve laptop (or any computer) success at your online piano lesson. Each answer is easier to address than you might think.  Listen, Distortion, Lights, Camera, Routers and Charge! (your device).

Echo and feedback

Audio feedback is the ringing noise (often described as squealing, screeching, etc) sometimes present in sound systems. It is caused by a "looped signal," that is, a signal which travels in a continuous loop.

In Zoom, one way to avoid feedback outside of the above issues is to turn on "Use Original Sound." I ask all my students to do this.

Distortion

Even a quiet speaker nearby may end up heard in the lesson. If the kitchen is next to the piano room, the software may focus on the sound of water running and oven doors opening and closing rather than the student. Software can also alter the volume of one voice (i.e., the piano student) if it perceives another “participant” speaking (i.e., children running).

The microphone or sound source, like a computer, can overload with sound. For example, the microphone can't handle the volume level which it's detecting and thus distorts the sound that it's sending into the sound system.

If these sounds are impossible to control, perhaps you can use an external USB mic to better control the direction of the intake. Also, headphones can prevent this from happening, and even improve the quality of the music from both ends. But we still need to hear each other’s voices.

Lights

Sensors in many cameras pick up visual ‘noise.’ Too little or too much light can affect the image quality more drastically and in ways you don’t expect.

Camera

Check out your setup a few minutes before a lesson. Try to reposition your camera to avoid these issues. Lots of grain means more light. If the keyboard is solid white, your shot is overexposed.


Routers

What is the distance between the lesson area, your device and your Internet signal? If you are across the house from your router, the connection speed will likely be rocky, regardless of your speed. Perhaps try to experiment with the location of your laptop/tablet or with the location of your router. Small changes in either could make more of a difference than you think.

What else can interfere with your signal? How about a microwave that uses the same frequency or an electrical panel that is nearby. Plus, a less recent model device and/or older technology cannot be ignored.

Charge! (your device)

Make sure that your device is charged (it's an easy mistake to make). A video session consumes much more power than your average computer session. Be prepared.

6 faqs for laptop zoom success
I know that the most joy in my life has come to me in my violin.

ALBERT EINSTEIN
Music is the poetry of the air. 

JEAN PAUL RICHTER
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