Most people have had some sort of “virtual meeting” due to COVID-19. The virtual meeting may have been for a business meeting, school classroom, family gathering, and now music lessons. Since March, we have noticed a lot of our students at Music Lab – East Sacramento have switched over to virtual lessons with their instructors using various video conferencing platforms. We all have learned a lot about distance learning and have a few tips on making your virtual lessons productive, successful, and fun!

  1. Make Sure Your Device(s) Are CHARGED 100%! 

People are using phones, tablets, laptops, and tower computers to take music lessons virtually. The primary similarity between all these devices is that they use a lot of power, and most NEED a battery! Make a habit of plugging in the device you plan on using the night before, or the morning of your lesson. Video conferencing consumes a lot of battery due to the high demand on the video/audio capabilities of the device being used. There is nothing like the “panic” of only having 10% battery life on your device and wondering if you will make it through your whole lesson! It would be a shame if your virtual lesson ended early due to the device not being able to go through the entire lesson. Having 100% battery is important!

2. Try To Have A Second Device For Viewing Music/Additional Material. 

Music instructors may send students sheet music, lesson notes, examples, and other material to your email address in the form of a .PDF, .JPG, or even a Word document. Having a second device to access those materials makes it easier to look at the notes given by the teacher, while in your virtual lesson. It also helps eliminate having to jump between applications and avoid unintentional “closeouts” of the virtual lesson screen. Having a second device is also helpful in case you did not look at Tip #1 too!

3. Have Your Angle On Your Camera Pointed At Your Instrument and YOU!

Spend some time making sure your camera angle can capture you playing your instrument and capture you too! This may require moving some things around the space that you take your virtual lessons from. You may also want to invest in a “Tablet/Phone Stand” to help achieve the best angle, especially for those learning piano or drums. We have also seen students invest in a webcam that has a long enough cord to move it to a good position as opposed to the standard webcam at the top of most screens.

4. Invest In Headphones To HEAR The Lesson. 

Every musician SHOULD have a decent pair of headphones or earbuds that they use for listening to music. If you are having trouble hearing the music or the instructor out of the speaker of your device, you may consider using headphones to help. They can be corded headphones, or headphones equipped with Bluetooth. A lot of headphones also include a microphone, so you may be able to not only increase your listening ability, but also your clarity in your voice and it may even pick up your instrument.

5. Record A Video Of Yourself Prior To Lessons And Self-Evaluate.

Recording yourself is NEVER a bad thing! You can learn a lot about yourself and your playing by recording yourself. It has never been easier to access a video recorder on your phone/tablet or computer and record a small clip of you playing. There are a few things you will want to check:

1.) Can you be seen clearly?

2.) Can your instrument be seen clearly?

3.) Can your voice and instrument be heard clearly? Do you need to move closer or farther from the microphone source?

You will be able to make small adjustments on your own before your instructor spends time correcting those things for you. 

We hope some of these tips help you to prepare for some great virtual music lessons! We will be sure to update you and give more tips and tricks on how to make virtual lessons even better!