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Virtual Technical Tips

May 20, 2020
Technical issues can have unintended consequences and impact the communication between the teacher and the student. Often the solutions are easier than you might think. Here are a few easy tips to ensure a smooth online piano lesson.

Online Lessons At Home

Online communication is quite literally a two-way street. Visual cues between two people online are different from in person communication. Plus, different students at varied ages or with assorted devices may have distinct challenges.


Power & battery life

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

Feedback & echo sounds

For example, Skype can alter the volume of one voice (i.e., the piano student) if it perceives another “participant” speaking. Even a quiet speaker nearby may end up heard.
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.

Background noise

The microphone on your device easily picks up unexpected sounds: kids running around upstairs, the noise of dishes and conversations in adjacent rooms. Sounds that I can block out in person can become difficult to block out online.
If these sounds are impossible to control, perhaps you can use an external USB mic to better control the direction of the intake.

Weird lighting & exposure problems

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.
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.
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