As promised, here is an update on our lesson strategy. Please read this entire post.
You will soon start to receive information about how to have your lessons using the videoconferencing software Zoom. Visit zoom.us to download the software to your computer or hand-held devices.
SET ZOOM UP BEFORE YOUR LESSON, MAKE SURE IT WORKS
Please don’t wait until the last minute to get your set-up working, in case there are problems. If you are having trouble, ask your family expert to help you.
Zoom is excellent software and we have been using it internally with great success. We are confident it will deliver you a good result.
When you log in at your lesson time, or shortly before, your teacher may not yet have arrived. Be sure to stay in the active connection.
MAKE-UP WEEK LESSONS
You will receive messages about how to connect for your lesson at your scheduled day and time during the make-up week. It is important that you keep this information handy so you can quickly access your lesson at the right time.
You will receive a separate message about the regular lessons.
The link for this appointment is even more important, as it will be a link for a recurring appointment at your regular day and time, which you will use each week to access your teacher.
We are currently planning to run this system up to and including April 5th. If this changes, we will update you, but would continue to use this system in the event of any continued school closures.
GUIDELINES FOR ONLINE LESSONS – PLEASE READ AND NOTE
These guidelines are intended to help you get the most out of your lessons. Please take note and do your best to check as many of these off as possible.
- Make sure you are in a well lit area
- Make sure your device is plugged in – video conferencing eats a lot of power quickly
- If you are in a multi-child family, do your best to provide a quiet environment for the duration of the lesson.
- Make sure you are properly visible in the frame so your teacher can see the parts of you that are necessary to evaluate what you are doing and give you good feedback. For piano, from the side, with upper body visible is advisable. For drums, slightly above the kit, from the side is ideal. For other instrumentalists, a 45 degree to your right or left is likely to work. Singers, follow your teacher’s advice.
- Monitor time carefully, and move to the next lessons in a timely fashion
- Make sure no one else is using your home internet during your lesson times to assure best quality video/sound. This is extremely important.
Please note that the administration will be monitoring these lessons to assure for quality by appearing from time to time for a few minutes at a time.
If your connection is not stable, Zoom is likely to point that out to you, and same for your teacher. If you see this on your end, please verify that no one is using your connection at home.
GETTING FANCY – USE A BIG SCREEN
We live in remarkable times – not only can we have videoconference lessons, but also use our devices to ‘mirror’ our screens to TVs. If you have a smart phone, and a smart TV, or AppleTV, or FireStick, or any streaming device, it is likely you can take your screen image and share it to the much larger screen of your TV.
This is called Screen Mirroring, and is generally very easy to use. On iOS just swipe your screen bring up the Control Centre, and you should see the screen mirroring option just under halfway down.
EXTRA TIPS FOR A GOOD EXPERIENCE USING ZOOM
1) use headphones on both ends
2) loud instruments can overload computer and phone microphones. If a student is distorted, have them back away from the mic
3)external mics make a big difference in quality if you can. An affordable and convenient option is a USB mic.
Zoom is optimized for meetings, not music. The filters that cut out background noise and echos can disrupt the audio quality. Adjust the settings below, and ask your students to do the same—this will make a huge difference in the audio quality. Go to the audio settings and:
- Test your microphone level while playing/singing. If the meter maxes out, lower the Input volume.
- Uncheck “automatically adjust microphone volume”
- Go to advanced: Disable background noise suppression, echo cancelation on auto.