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Remote Instruction for the Conservatory of Music Faculty

Click here for a ZOOM training webinar 

Online Teaching Tips For Teachers (optional template)

Environment and Equipment Considerations:

1. Position the device you will be using (a larger screen is desirable) at or below eye level in a way that you can see the student on the screen and the copy of their music at the same time.

2. Use high quality headphones or speakers. Some people find this annoying and prefer to just use built in speakers and mics.

3. Arrange lighting to light your face from the front, not from behind.

4. Have access to a power source for your device.

5. Zoom is currently the overall preferred app. It is free for one-one-one teaching. There is a fee for groups of more than 2 people.

6. In the zoom app, change the settings to “original sound.” You can only change these settings on a desktop. (This will disable a compression algorithm that is great for speech, but terrible for music.)

7. Turn off the “auto leveling” feature on your microphone. (This will disable a compression algorithm.)

8. Have a copy of the same edition of music as the student’s with measure numbers. If there are no measure numbers, have the student write them in, scan it, and send you a copy.

9. Turn on “do not disturb” on your device.

10. If you schedule each student separately, zoom will generate a link (URL) for that individual lesson. The students don’t have to join, they can just click on the link at their lesson time.

It makes sense to give yourself a short break in between lessons because unlike in-person lessons, you can’t easily schedule a trip to the restroom or to get a glass of water.

11. Setting suggestion: Choose the “waiting room” option in settings (only on the desktop) so students can easily wait for you if you run over time with the previous student.

12. If you want to play with your students, mute them, but keep your sound on. There is a time lag, but only you will hear it. Many teachers find this too big a compromise.

13. Setting suggestion: In Zoom choose the setting “muted upon entry” so you are not interrupted if a new student arrives.

14. Setting suggestion: In Zoom, choose host “video off” when students sign in. This will prevent your student from seeing you without your knowledge.

15. Setting suggestion: In Zoom, select the chat function, so students can write things on the sidebar if they wish. Do not enable private chat which allows students to privately discuss things with each other without your knowledge (this only applies to group lessons).

16. Restrict online usage in the household during tyour lesson to keep the connection at the highest level.

Other Preparations for Teachers to Consider: 

1. Pre-determine a method of assigning new material and practicing goals. Will you do it verbally and have the student write it down? Will you send them a document after the lesson?

2. Predetermine a way to stop students from playing in order to give feedback (e.g. raising a pencil). With younger students, work out a hand signal with parents so they can physically stop the student. With older students, pre-determine the amount you would like them to play in advance and clearly communicate that.

3. Consider having students move the camera around to allow for views of hands, overall posture, etc.

4. Have a backup plan in case your device or the Internet fail.

5. If you hear distortion, try these suggestion:
-  Ask the student to play further from the device.
-  Lower the mic level.