Two months ago I transferred all my music lessons online. I’d been teaching French online for over a year, but teaching piano and voice lessons online felt like a very different animal.
All shortcomings aside—tech snafus, reduced sound quality, inability to manipulate student fingers—online learning in music has proven to offer many benefits.
Students are becoming more autonomous. They come to me each with suggestions about what they’d like to learn. They are learning musical terms more solidly because they can’t rely on me pointing to symbol on the page as a back-up. They are using the metronome to track their own tempo because it’s more difficult to track tempo in online lessons.
Parents are getting more involved. At the start of my transition, I offered free trainings to parents so they could serve as in-person coaches at home. A number of parents showed up and learned. Several other parents opted to start listening in on lessons. They picked up terms, became better versed in their child’s strengths and development areas. Some parents started playing duets with their children because doing so with me online was clunky.
I’ve gotten stronger at finding words to describe the techniques that I simply demonstrated in person in the past. This means that students can talk better about their own skills, and parents are regularly exposed to vocabulary that helps them understand what their children are working on.
Younger siblings are often adjacent during the piano lesson and are absorbing parts of the musical education.
We’ve all gotten more ambitious in repertoire. Once I discovered that several children had less pressure from academics, I began experimenting with more demanding and varied repertoire. Most students were delighted to rise to the challenge. I began combining rote learning with reading music so my students’ physical techniques could develop at an accelerated pace, even as their ability to read music developed at a steady pace. Beginning students are now playing pieces from Bach to the Beattles and developing the muscle memory required to excel.
Overall, I am thrilled by the results of the transition to online learning, and I look forward to exploring more opportunities through this learning format.