If your piano teacher is moving your usual in-studio private lessons online, these pointers will help you set up at home. Thank-you for your willingness to adapt as we move forward together to keep everyone as safe as we can.
Teachers, please share this with your students and families on Facebook or link to this blog: https://rebekah.maxner.ca/2020/03/21/online-piano-lessons-pointers-for-families-setting-up/ (copy and paste the URL)
Here are some steps you can take to prepare before lessons begin:
Zoom is an app that allows people to meet face-to-face online with video and audio features. It’s free and safe! Zoom works on all devices: laptops, tablets and smartphones. It also works on all operating systems.
Zoom is safest when used with the ‘waiting room’ feature. This means the teacher initiates the contact and you click to join, and must wait in the waiting room until admitted to the meeting. This protects you from unexpected visitors.
Start by signing in to Zoom on your laptop or computer: https://zoom.us
Set up Zoom on the device you’ll be using in your lessons. You’ll get several prompts:
- “Please enter your name.” You’ll see this the first time only. Type your name in the field.
- “Zoom Would Like to Access the Camera.” Choose OK. This will allow your teacher to see your face, fingers and piano keys.
- “Join with Video.” Press the blue button.
- “Zoom Would Like to Access the Microphone.” Choose OK. This will allow you and your teacher to talk to each other and for your teacher to hear you play the piano.
- “Zoom Would Like to Send You Notifications.” Choose Allow. The notification will be sent to you when your lesson is about to begin.
- In “Advanced settings” on laptops choose “Enable original sound.” This means music will come through clearly without being suppressed as background noise.
A day or two before the lesson…
- Send your teacher a photo of your last assignment sheet. (Text or email.)
- Be sure you’ve filled in the times or checkmarks on your practice record.
- You’ll get an invitation to the online lesson “meeting” from your teacher. Add it to your calendar (Google, Outlook, etc.).
One hour before the lesson…
- Be sure your device is fully charged.
- Find all of your music books and assignment book.
- Find a pencil and eraser and have them ready at the piano.
- Check that you’ve clipped your finger nails.
10 minutes before the lesson…
- Make sure you’ve already used the washroom.
- Remind other members in your household that it’s time to limit their internet use. If someone in your home were streaming a movie, it would create a very poor connection for the online lesson.
- Be ready at your instrument. (Very young students be ready with your parent helper.)
- Set up your device as suggested.
- Open your books to the pages you’ll be using.
- Optional: You may want to have a glass of water handy (avoid water damage on your piano or the risk of spilling into a keyboard, just have it near).
- You’ll get a notification that the lesson is about to begin. You’ll be asked to wait in the “waiting room.”
As the lesson begins…
- You’ll be invited to the meeting by your teacher. Join.
- Zoom will prompt: “To hear others please join audio.” Choose Call using Internet Audio.
- The student (or for young students, the parent) will write in the notes for this week’s assignment sheet.
To end the lesson…
- If you have asked for a video recording to help you review and remember what you covered in the lesson through the week, your teacher may end the video portion of the lesson a few minutes earlier than the scheduled end time. This allows time for the video to process and save before the start of the next student’s lesson. Even though there may be three minutes missed from your time, there is an advantage to having the video to consult through the week.
- On your screen you will see in red lettering, “Leave Meeting.” A pop-up prompt will ask you to confirm that you want to leave the meeting.
In case of technical problems…
- Any lesson that cannot be completed with the original device can be finished on a regular telephone.
Again, thank-you for being flexible and willing to give this alternative piano lesson idea a try! I’m working very hard to make sure your child’s piano lesson experience continues to be an enriching and musical one.
~ Your Teacher
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Video of the week
Jelly Roll Jazz (Elementary, Level 1), a piano solo with walking bass line and ordinary, easy-to-play triads that sound jazzy! From the newly released 2020 print and eBook Rock this Town, 11 Elementary piano works, solos and duets. Or, check out the studio-licensed eSheet for Jelly Roll Jazz!