Online lessons use a combination of live lessons via Zoom video conferencing, as well as asynchronous instruction using video recording submissions.
Regular online video lessons are available to students who live further than 30 miles away from my studio. A hybrid of online video lessons in combination with in-person lessons may be offered at my discretion. I also offer the option of online lessons to all students when I’m traveling, during inclement weather, or in other emergency situations.
Tips for successful online lessons
- Set up your computer or mobile device close to the WiFi router (in the same room if possible). The more walls and appliances such as TVs or Microwaves the wifi has to travel through, the slower the signal. Being close to the router will help your upload speeds and make the video connection more stable.
- Avoid having a light or window directly behind you. This makes it hard for me to see you, your hands, and your harp strings. Place a light source (such as a window or lamp) behind the camera on your device if possible.
- Have the ability to plug in your device to charge. Video conferencing drains battery life. Getting all set-up only to realize you have a low battery and can’t reach the plug is frustrating and time consuming.
- Position your device about arms length away from you and ideally about eye level in height. If it’s too far away the software will have trouble picking up the harp sound if you are using the internal microphone on your device. In harp lessons, I need to see your hands on the strings as you play and your face at the same time.
- You don’t need fancy holders or stands for your device. You can use a 2nd music stand, a barstool, or a tall piece of furniture to position your device for harp lessons.
- For better video quality, limit the amount of bandwidth used on your WiFi network and on your device during your lesson. Encourage others in your household network not to stream video or play online games while you are video conferencing.
- Close out all other applications using internet like web browsers, email clients, facebook, etc. on your device.
- Headphones (the kind with a microphone built in) can dramatically improve the sound quality and prevent feedback.
- External microphones will improve the sound quality. They are optional for beginners and those taking only occasional online lessons. An external microphone is highly recommended for intermediate and advanced students as well as those taking lots of online lessons.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get set-up, especially before your first lesson online. It always takes longer than you think to login to and position everything where you want it.
Zoom is my preferred platform for online video conference lessons. It is free, it works on all computer operating systems, and all mobile devices with a front facing camera. With the right settings, the sound quality on Zoom is usually better than other platforms. Here are some helpful Zoom hints:
- Zoom works better and the video connection is more stable on a cabled ethernet connection plugged directly into your router or using WiFi. If you are using Zoom on a mobile device make sure you are connected to WiFi and not using cellular data.
- For most devices, enabling the option for Original Sound in the Zoom Audio Settings on your computer or mobile device to dramatically improves Zoom’s ability to share musical sounds. Zoom suppresses background noise to focus on voice audio, and often thinks the harp is background noise.
- Here is a YouTube playlist with helpful Zoom Tutorials.
- Having trouble with Zoom? Click here to find instructions for desktop and mobile versions of zoom on all operating systems.