I’ve been doing online lessons for a long time. It’s only recently that the rest of the world has caught up with me!! I sat down to list some of the benefits that students, parents, and teachers have experienced with this format of giving music lessons. Here are some of the points that came up:
Lessons in the comfort of your own home
There have been studies about how people relate to the world around them. When you walk in to your home, it’s like your body knows it can relax because of the familiarity of the environment around you. Let’s face it, playing music in front of people, even if it’s “just” your teacher can be intimidating. But when you are feeling relaxed, you are more focused, and better able to learn.
No travel time
I lived in a rural area during the pandemic. My son and I calculated how much time I spent driving back and forth to the city where I could give lessons (it was a lot)! Many parents choose local music schools for this reason–they want to be able to drop off their kids and be done with it. But think about the actual process: gather the kid(s) and their books, drive to the school (traffic–ugh!), sit in the waiting room (because 30 minutes isn’t enough to get errands done), then drive back home again. Contrast this with the online version: sit at your piano, turn on your smart phone/tablet/computer, connect to your teacher.
Build a long-term relationship with a teacher you LOVE
In my own experience on my musical journey, I’ve had teachers leave to attend school, move on from a studio, move out of the area, etc. I’ve also moved myself! It would have been great to continue a relationship with a teacher if online had been an option. It’s tough to find that special teacher that understands you. Every time I’ve had to change a teacher for the above reasons, I felt like I had to rebuild that relationship of love and trust with a new person.
You can still take lessons if you are contagious
Makeup policies differ from school to school, and parents hate missing lessons. Prior to the pandemic, I would get students with coughs or the sniffles because the studio I worked at had a 24-hour notice policy for missed lessons. Now, if the student is feeling well enough to take a lesson, but would rather contain the germs, they can take an online lesson. Healthier for the student, healthier for the teacher, and $$$ saved for the parent!
Technology can make classes more interesting
Virtual lessons are awesome! We can share screen and audio content, play games, and annotate directly on digital music. Students can react with emojis, write on the whiteboard.
It’s the wave of the future
- The worldwide e-learning market is projected to be worth $325 Billion in 2025. (Source: Forbes)
- Corporate e-learning takes 40% to 60% less time to complete when compared to traditional learning. (Source: eLearning Industry)
- The US e-learning market is set to grow by $12.81 billion between 2020 and 2024. (Source: Market Research)
- E-learning increases retention rates by 25% to 60%. (Source: SHIFT)
Picture this: an end of the year project for each student that wanted to participate. When their pieces were “recital-ready”, they spent a few hours recording themselves and then sent me the video. I edited it by adding applause, a title sequence, and some fun effects. (For Jurassic Park for example, we put in a dinosaur roar at the end!) The videos were uploaded to a private YouTube channel. Then friends and family from all over the world met together on Zoom to watch the performances together. I even grouped performances by theme, and had little movie trailers to introduce the students. It was a success and way less stress for performers than the traditional way of doing formal recitals.
Not only did we do virtual recitals, but some students went through their books and before “graduating” from the book, they picked a few of their favourite pieces and performed private concerts for friends, neighbours, and families.
Check out our school’s YouTube channel!
Time management skills
Students and parents learn to be organized when it comes to their lessons.
Many of our students independently set alarms so that they can be ready 5 minutes before their lesson.
Learn to communicate clearly
This is a benefit for both students and teachers! We both have to be very specific when talking about challenges and how to overcome them. Because you often can’t both talk at once, you also learn to listen. Students learn to process an instruction, incorporate the instruction, and then execute the solution.
Learn note-taking skills
The teacher isn’t there to write directly in the student’s books/music. Students learn to a) have a pencil ready b) mark their own scores c) follow instructions on where to write and d) think about what they need to notate in their music to help them play better.
Students become more self-reliant
Now that we are online, students have to get their books ready, be on time for their lessons, turn their own pages, find their music, set their own metronome, write in their books, etc., etc., etc.!
Taking out the time for traveling, teachers can set up their schedules to suit both themselves and their students.
You can both travel
Headed out of the country? No problem! Pack your books or bring your tablet! You are not limited by not having your instrument either! Several students have “zoomed” with me as they travelled the world. We get to do ear training, work on reading skills, theory, history, and/or listening.
Some parents that were traveling for awhile, packed up a small keyboard, or rented a keyboard for their vacation home.
Easy payment options
Most people do some sort of online banking. Our studio sets up payments using Stripe, a third party processor. We don’t keep your credit card numbers anywhere, and invoices are received and paid easily! You can even set up automatic payments so you don’t have to think about it. Easy peasy.
The set up for online lessons can be as simple as you want. On your end, you just need an instrument, and a smart phone/tablet/or computer.
Online is oh-so-convenient! When I asked students what they loved about online lessons, one 15-year-old said “I don’t have to leave my living room!”. I can only imagine how much time is saved NOT having to fight traffic going to and from an in-person lesson. I feel like this reason should be in capital letters. CONVENIENT!!
No waiting room
At some of the studios I’ve worked at in person, I think of all the people crammed into a (sometimes small!) space, forced to make conversation with others, or trying to find something to do while they wait for their lesson to start. I think of the parents and children that wait for siblings to get done with their lesson. AND 30 minutes is usually not enough time to get an errand done unless it’s a super-stressed dash to a (hopefully) nearby store!
Easy to fit in a busy schedule
Did I already mention the “no travel time”, “convenient”, and “greater flexibility”?! Especially if you have kids that are in other activities, doing your lesson online means one less thing to drive to. It’s not hard to fit in a weekly online lesson during a busy week!
Easy reminder set up
Set an alarm on your smart phone. BOOM! Alternatively, you can sign up for our email reminders. For the students that do Zoom at our school, they get a zoom link the day before their lesson.
Lessons on your own instrument
Piano players don’t get the luxury of strapping their instrument to their back and bringing it with them to recitals, lessons, and exams! But online lessons let you have your lesson on your OWN instrument. The comfort factor is important here! Familiarity is definitely a bonus–and you can’t say “It sounded better at home” anymore.
High quality instruction from relaxed, happy teachers!
Online instruction is a viable alternative to in-person instruction. Good online teachers make the pivot from “traditional” lessons to excellent online instruction. Working online frees up teachers to make their own schedules. And a relaxed, happy teacher is ALWAYS better to learn from.
Online teachers are engaging
Online teachers can pick up right away if a student is disinterested or bored. Good online teachers figure out ways to present material in a way that is engaging and fun.
Technology allows us to share fun apps, screen share interesting content, watch demonstration clips together, and annotate and write on shared whiteboards.