Online Piano Lessons
The following provides information, thoughts and ideas on online piano lessons, their advantages and disadvantages as well as how students can make the most of online lessons. As Manchester has seen more than one lockdown and since the 2nd of December has been placed in the highest tier for restrictions in the UK, students are embracing the online medium for piano lessons.
Continuing studies during difficult periods of uncertainty is vital for students’ development and thanks to the wonders of the internet, this is now possible. Considering the pros and cons of online lessons, it would be all too easy to think of online lessons as completely inferior to in-person lessons. However, though there are some drawbacks, the medium of online lessons has recently evolved and proven to be highly successful, perhaps more so than anyone could have imagined pre-pandemic.
The primary disadvantage to music lessons conducted online comes in considering sound quality – sound after all is what music essentially comes down to. Fortunately there are certain actions that students and teachers can take to improve sound quality. As music students around the world have been unable to travel we have seen a number of ways students are adapting to fit their new environments. It goes without saying that the use of an external microphone and quality speakers or headphones can improve sound quality greatly, however all the efforts of a good set of gear can easily go to waste with a poor internet connection. Many phones and tablets will easily be sufficient for lessons when supported by a strong internet connection that allows for the quick streaming of video and audio.
It has to be recognised that there are occasionally subtle nuances in sound that are lost when streaming online which then can’t be picked up by the teacher. However, these are rare and are in reality are only going to make a difference to the lessons of advanced pianists where subtle nuances are the primary consideration. The solution to this for advanced pianists – is for the student to make a recording prior to the lesson. This recording is then reviewed in lesson with the teacher, just as if one were to play during the lesson. After this the lesson would carry on as usual. The advantage to this is that it avoids the loss of quality due to live streaming over the internet.
There are certain advantages to online lessons too; firstly, there is less of a time commitment for either student or teacher, depending on which is travelling. Secondly, it is possible to conduct lessons from entirely different locations, cities apart, or perhaps even countries apart – this is particularly useful for teachers that also perform and find themselves travelling frequently.
Online lessons can seem strange at first but students and teachers quickly become used to them. As the world adapts to more and more online meetings, the idea of conducting education or work online is becoming normalised. The disadvantages to online lessons mentioned above are not in any way significant and are certainly not enough to delay an education in music. This is especially the case when considering that, for most, online lessons are likely not a long term strategy for piano lessons.
I would encourage any and all who are considering lessons in piano, either as a continuation of their study or at the very beginning of their journey not to let the online aspect hold them back – certainly not before seeing what they’re really like – you may even prefer them!
Online platforms for lessons: