Updated: Sep 14, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to change the way we conduct business, educate, eat, shop and socialize. Some day, we will be able to leave our houses again, and conduct business as usual. However, I suspect that some aspect of what we have all gone through will continue, and that's our virtual world.
Now that I've taught lessons online for a month, I have seen pros and cons to this platform. A big con, is that students are missing that face-to-face interaction and the fact that I can't play along with them. However, there have been many benefits: lessons are run more efficiently, lessons are recorded (video and audio) so they can refer back to them as needed, students can easily see a fingering when I demonstrate it in a close-up range directly to the camera.
To set up my studio for online lessons, first I had to rearrange the room. I moved my desk and equipment to a corner of the room. I keep it clutter-free and only have the essentials that are needed for teaching in this space. The walls have clarinet pictures and I have a nice sunny window to teach under. I situated the camera so that if a family member entered the room, it would not be visible to the camera. Now my music studio was ready to transition to a virtual music studio.
Here are some technology "must haves" that I've been using. Be sure to scroll to the end to hear about FREE bonus tips!!
2. Additional Computer Screen. Now that I'm teaching all the lessons, online, I found that the screen on my MacBook was kind of small. I hooked it up to a larger computer screen that was just sitting unused in a closet!
3. Scanner. I have scanner apps on my phone that are great if I need to copy something in a pinch, but if I want a higher quality scan, I use my printer/scanner. What I use is the Canon TS9120.
4. Video Camera. Cameras on your cell phone, iPad or laptop work just fine, but for better quality, you should invest in a video camera. I use the Zoom Q8 2.3K HD Handy Video Recorder with Interchangeable Mic Capsule System. This camera doesn't have a zoom lens, but what it does have is the capability to be used as a webcam, which is what I do for lessons.
5. Microphones. The microphone on the Zoom video camera is amazing. However, when I'm on a virtual platform, it doesn't give an option to use those microphones. So, the one I use most often is the audio-technica AT2020USB. This microphone is easy to use and plugs into a USB port. Other microphones I use are Zoom H1n and Tascam DS-40 Linear PCM Recorder. Both brands offer single or multiple track versions.
6. Bluetooth Speaker. Sometimes the built-in speaker is good enough, but for a higher quality, I use a JBL Bluetooth Wireless Speaker. I used this speaker when I was traveling to schools to teach music lessons. I like it because you can get a big sound in this small speaker. As I get more sophisticated with technology, I'm sure I will invest in a bigger sound system, but for now this works just great.
7. Headphones. When needed, I use Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones. I know there are other great headphones out there, but I do enjoy the high quality sound that comes out of these. They are on my favs list!
8. iPad Pro. I use the iPad Pro mainly to use the app forScore. I have scanned the music my students are working on and uploaded them on this app. It's super convenient and easy to use. Plus if I want them to learn something new, I can send them a PDF of a new file during their lesson and they have it immediately!
9. Docking Station. Since I use electronics all day, I needed something to keep them charged and connected.There are lots of docking stations available on Amazon. Since I only have one hookup on my MacBook, this is essential.
10. Keyboard-I do have a baby grand piano in my music studio, but for online clarinet lessons, it's more practical to use a keyboard. I have a Roland Juno DS88.
So, stop right now and get your studio set up for online lessons. Be sure to reach out to me right now to receive your FREE bonus points on "Managing Your Online Music Business."
Send me an email or message me on LinkedIn, FaceBook or Instagram and tell me how you set up your virtual music lesson studio. I hope to hear from you.