Music lessons adapt well to remote learning, especially compared to activities like team sports or gymnastics. They’re one-on-one and don’t require any special equipment beyond the student and their instrument. Our teachers miss teaching in-person lessons but remote learning has offered them some unique and surprising educational opportunities. Virtual music lessons can even end up giving students a better education than in-person lessons!
1) Teachers can see exactly what their students practice with
This is the number one benefit to virtual learning – our teachers get a peek into precisely what their students have been practicing with. This gives us insight into where technique issues come from and the ability to nip problems in the bud. If a keyboardist has been playing on unweighted keys, a drummer is missing parts of his kit, or a guitarist’s amp is out of wack, we can see it for ourselves. Teachers can recommend easy fixes for these problems in real-time, making lessons more effective in the long run.
2) Teachers can also help fix any music gear issues
Parents, it’s highly unlikely you’ll want to dig out a 100-page Yamaha manual when something goes awry with your child’s music gear . Virtual lessons let teachers diagnose gear issues in real time. “This adds value to the lesson,” our director Lydia says.
Our voice and piano teacher Rose Fuller was able to quickly fix an persistent issue for a student. One of her young pianist’s keyboard was a half-step out of tune, something most parents (and many musicians) wouldn’t easily notice. “You can offer personalized instruction on how to use gear,” Rose says.
3) Students develop more concentration and independence
Sometimes music students become overly reliant on their teacher’s guidance. Not being able to write notes on charts or jam together in real time can actually end up working to the student’s benefit. “They’re forced to do things on their own,” says guitar and drums instructor Don Taylor. Students end up reading sheet music and charts themselves, set up and use their gear independently, and warm themselves up with exercises our teachers send to them. They also learn how to keep track of their books and music, since they can’t just peek off the teacher’s music!
4) Students brush up on essential skills
Virtual lessons may make it harder to pull up a new song and start learning it immediately. But that lack of flexibility ends up giving students time to focus on the fundamentals. Our teachers have found that they’ve been spending more time on music theory, ear training, and rhythm exercises with their students ever than before. Speaking of rhythm, students end up using their metronomes more often during virtual lessons, since they can’t jam with their teachers like they used to. This not only helps the student develop their rhythm, it makes them more likely to practice with a metronome independently
5) Lessons are convenient for students and parents
Virtual lessons are undeniably easier to schedule and show up for than in-person ones. Parents don’t have to make the drive and students don’t have to cart around their gear or books. Absences are easier to make up and lessons can be taught from out of town. “You can take your lessons from Kathmandu,” says piano and voice instructor Joseph Wren. Plus, students can keep learning from the teachers they love from anywhere in the world. Our guitar and drums instructor Don Taylor has continued successfully teaching a student who moved from Colorado to Florida.
6) Lessons provide far more guidance than internet tutorials
You can learn quite a bit from video tutorials. However, taking virtual lessons offers far more guidance than any pre-recorded lesson. Students can ask their teachers questions in person, in real time. Teachers can react to the students and quickly correct any technique issues before they become a bad habit. With virtual learning, “You get the visual element of a YouTube video with customized instruction,” says guitar and voice teacher Gann Matthews.
Overall, we’ve received loads of positive feedback from our students about our virtual lessons. The vast majority of our students are excited to continue their music education and have quickly adapted to remote learning. We look forward to continuing to provide great virtual music instruction during this time of social distancing.