Zoom-ing Piano Study
July 15, 2020
With the virtual, online piano lesson, I hope to simulate the in-person teaching experience. I get that every student, computer setup and home is unique. To that end, please know that I am open to hearing your individual concerns and/or needs. I’ve included a few known communication elements that I’d like to clarify for us so that can make the online lesson more effective.
Online Lesson FAQs
Online communication is quite literally a two-way street. I may be able to help with your technical setup so we can optimize your sound and lesson experience. Plus, I need to know how I sound to you, as that may differ from one student to the next. Your impressions are quite useful.
Can I Hear You?
Unexpected elements can impact your sound. Your computer volume may be lower than you realize. Plus, the software (Zoom, Skype or FaceTime) settings on your device / laptop may need to be adjusted. Let’s iron that out before the lesson begins. I am glad to help if I can and it could, in fact, be something on my end as well.
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.
Can You Hear Me?
Visual cues between two people online are different from face to face, in-person communication. I may, at times, speak too loudly as I am unsure of your sound. Could you confirm my sound with me (voice & piano)? Sound can improve when the device (such as, laptop, monitor) is close to the student. I can hear them better AND the student, I will know, can hear me easily (and see me). A one- to two-second delay may occur online. If I speak to the student while they are playing, I’m not sure if /when they can hear me.
Music is complex; that is, it uses so many aspects of a person's being.
What can we (me or you) do to facilitate our communication so that you don’t need the burden of being an interpreter? I’d like to hear. Is there a reason why you feel you need to be present? Is the technology setup precarious? Or is the student feeling a bit off-kilter by this new (hopefully temporary) reality. I think we all are, a bit.
Extra auditory feedback from another person makes hearing the student and distinguishing who is speaking is more difficult (see below for the technical explanation).
If we get this right, the home experience should replicate the one-on-one experience that we enjoyed prior to our international pandemic. I appreciate all the work that online school lessons have been for parents. I don’t want piano study to be even more. With home piano study, in my experience, it's best that the student has their music set up and is ready to go. It can be best to dress for a lesson with shoes on.
I Do Not Mind Wrong Answers ...
I am not giving a test, so don't quietly call out the answer (yes, I hear you ;-). In fact, I count on hearing the student’s thought process in whatever answer he or she gives me. I like to hear the student’s answer and then re-direct those ideas into greater understanding. I value the student’s trust that they can speak freely. I count on their visual expressions for feedback and need to know if they are communicating with another person in the room.