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How To Have A Successful Online Music Class

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

Tips for online piano, guitar, violin, flute or voice lessons


Tips for online music lessons
Tips for successful online music classes

Getting Started

Before beginning your online Zoom Music lesson, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you or your child get the most out of your virtual music lesson.


When it comes to the online music learning experience, having the right tools is very important. A device with an internet connection is essential for online classes, we also recommend:

The device setting for successful online music lessons
The device setting for successful online music lessons

  • Ipad, Laptop or Desktop (Iphone is not recommended), multiple devices with cameras that could help students be seen in multiple angles

  • Wireless earbuds (like Airpods) or headphones for better sound quality,

  • LED table light for better lighting

How To Test Your Internet Speed

Before your online music lessons, we highly recommend you to test your internet speed to make sure you can properly be connected.

Test your internet Speed: "internet speed test"

This will let you know approximately how fast our teacher is seeing you/your child and how quickly the sound will be transmitted.

There are two types of internet speed: download and upload. When you test your internet speed, it will tell you how many megabits per second (Mbps) you can upload/download. Typically for music lessons, you should be looking for internet speeds from 20-80 Mbps. A strong and fast internet connection allows for timely critiques and successful teaching.

Test internet speed before online music lessons
How to test internet speed

Test your internet before your virtual music lessons
Internet Speed Test
How to Test Your Zoom Audio Settings

To test your device’s audio open the Zoom application and click on the gear in the top right corner. A pop-up will appear; select “Audio” in the left hand column and then “Test Mic”. You will be prompted with a series of short tests to ensure your audio is in tip-top shape! You can also test your speaker with the “Test Speaker” button to ensure that you or your child will be able to hear our instructors. Clear audio helps our instructors hear, analyze and critique the intricate sounds created by students on their instruments or with their voice.

How to set up audio for online music lessons

Tips for Succssful Online Music Lessons
  1. Reduce Distractions: Giving students a quiet, distraction-free space to take their lesson is very important. Family pets, siblings and background noise are just a few of the distractions that may prevent your child from being the best musician they can be!

  2. Time Management Tips: Set aside time to observe and figure out the optimal length of learning sessions, the times that students are most engaged, and what helps them maintain focus. We offer 30, 45 and 60 minute classes to help hold your budding musician's attention.

  3. Helps students Stay in Touch with Their Music-Loving Friends: Coordinate Zoom practice sessions or hangouts with other students who share an interest in music. This will encourage them and provide a sense of community which they may be missing at home.

  4. Provide Positive Feedback: Words of encouragement before and after music class might help students feel more motivated. Positive words and rewards can go a long way!

Should Parents Be Present During Their Child’s Online Music Lessons?

For younger students (younger than 8 years old), or for those who are just starting their first online music classes or for children that are extremely shy, parents should:

- Be present during their music lesson and passively participate in it

- Listen to the teacher very carefully and be sure to outline the main thoughts and tasks of the lesson in a notebook

- Study and practice with their child at home, e.g. presenting the child with music homework as games

Parents of older students, 8 years old and up, are not required to attend their child’s music lessons but it is recommended that they participate and get involved in their child’s music education through other activities such as:

- Listening to music at home

- Reading books about music

- Attending concerts

- Watching online music videos together

- Helping with their child’s homework and rehearsal

- Having discussions and conversations about music

How To Take Music Notes?

Always take your own notes during a lesson - have a pencil nearby to mark in the music important points during the lesson. Another good option is recording each lesson so you can look back during the week and practice. The record button on Zoom is next to the Share Screen icon.

Here’s how to send files/documents through zoom:

1. Open Zoom on a web browser.

2. Go to settings and scroll down to In-Meeting (Basic).

3. Find the option of File Transfer and click to enable file transfer.

4. Within the meeting, go to chat.

5. Click the button that says 'File' and select the file you wish to send.

6. You can send PDFs of music or word documents with notes.

7. Make sure to download it onto your personal device.

Practice Tips After Virtual Music Lessons

Take a Break: Virtual learning is new for us all, and can be especially difficult for young minds who thrive on different stimuli to learn, whether that’s learning guitar online, classical piano lessons, or general online music courses. We recommend taking breaks in between lessons to avoid being too stressed and overwhelmed. For each task, whether that's practicing a piece or strengthening a new skill, set aside blocks of times to work on the task as well as times to take a break. For example, if you decide to work on a task for 30 minutes, you may want to take an 8 minute break in between to give your mind a rest. An app that can help with this is Stand Up! The Work Break Timer

Manage your time: Everyone knows time management is hard, and it becomes seemingly impossible when you’re staying at home for the majority of the day, especially for music courses taught online. Take some time before you start to practice and create your own schedule that you feel will be the most effective. After testing out your schedule for a couple of days, start thinking about what it looks like weekly or biweekly. We know it may be difficult to prioritize music lessons and everyday demands. To minimize stress utilize your phone's alarms or one of these apps to manage all tasks. Remember to always adjust the schedule depending on your progress, mood, and health.

Recommended Apps and Online Resources:

Sight Reading Apps: Sight-reading, and the ability to quickly read and play sheet music quickly are important skills to practice for any developing musician. Any music student can practice outside their online music lessons with apps dedicated to helping students improve their sight reading ability. These apps are great for beginner and intermediate students who want to be able to play a piece of music up to tempo the first time, and who want to be more confident, well-rounded musicians.

Ear Training Apps: Music is all about listening, and there is no better way to become a better listener and musician than to train your musical ears. Having trained ears is especially important for your virtual music lessons, and there are many great apps for intermediate to advanced students who are comfortable with their instruments, but want to be able to hear, recognize, and play intervals, chords, and songs without ever looking at sheet music.

  • EarMaster- This app is designed to build and develop your aural skills in rhythm and pitch identification.

  • Politonus - This app is great for more advanced students looking to learn how to identify intervals and chords by ear with short, challenging games.

  • Tenuto - Ideal for all skill levels and is widely used in many music classes for ear training

Rhythm Studies Apps: Rhythm creates tension, variation, and gives music its character. Any musician with a good understanding of rhythm has infinite options in terms of composing and improvising and will be able to confidently read sheet music in any setting. Any music student regardless of prior experience can improve their ability to play complex rhythms and incorporate them into their music and into their online music lessons using the following resources.

Music Theory Apps: Using resources available online is a great way for students to learn music theory outside of their private lessons and to supplement their online music courses. Many of these apps incorporate games and exercises to make learning music theory fun! Below are a few favorite apps to help you learn music theory and become a better musician.

  • ABRSM Theory Works - It is aimed towards any student that is looking to improve their theoretical understanding, but particularly those who are completing the ABRSM exams, from Grades 1 to 5.

  • Tonal Harmony Analysis - It provides users with an analysis of each chord progression, offering a range of different options and choices.


Content Contributors:

Katherine Williams; Chase Ware ; Brianna Tang; Saiana Bugio; Jiao Li ; Evan Jacobson

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