Online Piano Instruction

Online piano lessons have moved into the mainstream, accelerated by the spread of Covid-19. Traditional piano lessons, conducted in close physical proximity, are simply not advisable during a pandemic that spreads quickly in the air and from touched surfaces. Even when in-person lessons are possible again, online instruction will continue as an option for occasional lessons (vacations, minor illnesses, transportation issues) as well as the primary option for many. Fortunately, online lessons provide, not only a good substitute, but many advantages.

Online lessons can be as effective as in-person lessons

Enjoy the advantages of online lessons

Convenience. You may receive lessons in the comfort of your home. The teacher can develop a better understanding of your practice instrument and advise you regarding instrument maintenance, tuning and upgrades. The teacher is also able to see and correct your practicing posture, which many students and parents underestimate in its importance to a good playing technique.

Choice. You are not limited to a teacher in your local area. You can choose the best teacher for you, all across the world. This is particularly helpful for

  • People who live in an area without a piano teacher or with limited choices
  • Military families that move a lot and desire to have a consistent teacher
  • Homeschool families, who would like to provide education in the performing arts with flexible scheduling. You can move easily from math to social studies to music without a time-consuming commute. You can even continue teaching other siblings while the music student has their lesson.

Time savings. In a crowded city, the round-trip commute to a piano teacher can easily add half an hour to your schedule, often more. Eliminating that commute is a major attraction of online piano lessons.

Flexible scheduling. Because you are not limited to a teacher in your local area, you can find a teacher, perhaps in a different time zone, who can offer lessons at your preferred time.

Premium digital content. Online lessons lend themselves to naturally including supplementary videos, learning apps, games, and computer software. While these are also available for in-person lessons, the online format makes them easy and natural.

Consistent instrument. You eliminate the frustration of studying and practicing on a different instrument.

Recording lessons. Lessons may easily be recorded with a simply click, giving you the option of returning throughout the week to review what was taught.

Meet the challenges of online lessons

Lack of physical guidance. Particularly in the early stages of learning, it is helpful to physically guide a student in developing a proper hand position and physical posture. As students mature with age, they are better able to understand verbal instruction in these areas, but until then, it is helpful to have the involvement of a parent, or other caring adult, to provide this physical reinforcement.

No live duets. Playing duets with the teacher is an established teaching technique that helps a student develop a strong sense of pulse and artistic expression. An interesting accompaniment also provides character to a simple beginning piece. Some of this value can be duplicated through call and response playing between the teacher and student and by using prerecorded accompaniments.

Distractions in the home environment. There are inherent distractions at home, from pets and other humans, but it is possible to keep those distractions to a minimum through thoughtful planning and management.

Sound quality. The built-in microphone and speaker in your computer were designed primarily for speaking, not music. The same is true of the online teaching platforms that are currently available. When you use an external microphone and quality speakers or earphones, the sound quality improves dramatically. Using earphones or adjusting the placement of an external microphone and speakers also allows you to turn off the built-in audio processing in the communication software, which will give a more natural quality to the music.

Necessary equipment

You probably have most of the necessary equipment and connections already. In addition to a good quality piano or digital keyboard you will need--

A laptop or desktop computer. An up to date Windows or Macintosh computer will be best, although any device capable of connecting with the internet will work. A tablet device is a nice addition to your set-up, but should not be relied upon as your primary device except for occasional online lessons.

Strong internet connection. Connection speed is measured in terms of download speed and upload speed. For online piano lessons, the upload speed should be 5 Mbps or higher.

Microphone. Most computers have a built-in microphone, and this is fine for occasional online lessons. For those consistently taking online lessons an external microphone is required.

Webcam. Recent laptop computers and tablets include a built-in webcam. This will be adequate, but an external webcam will give greater flexibility in placement and will allow you to include a second camera angle to improve your instruction. It is helpful for the teacher to have a good side view of your hands and torso plus an overhead view of your hands on the keyboard.

Speaker or headphones. Many computers include an internal speaker, which will be adequate for occasional lessons. For those whose primary mode of instruction is online, an external speaker or headphones is required.

Parental involvement

Piano students need the support of a parent or caring adult in their online piano studies to provide and set up the necessary equipment, to assist the teacher in providing physical guidance, to help the student keep focused on the task at hand, and to make sure that they practice frequently and effectively. These responsibilities are greater when the student is young or just beginning and decrease as the student ages and gains more experience.