Tips on better online lessons experience

The purpose of this blog is to provide some useful advice for teachers and students, who just like me, had to dive into the virtual world of teaching with very little preparation and time to adjust.

If you already own an external mic, please use it for your sessions. In many cases, it can significantly improve the quality of sound.

If you are using a wireless network (WiFi) and your router is on the other side of the house, you may experience moments of poor connectivity.  In some cases, if you are in an area with good cell signal, you may be better off broadcasting from your phone or tethering your computer/tablet to your cellular data.  Experiment to see what works best for you.

Please ask household members to avoid streaming movies on your network during your lesson/recital.  

Try to place the webcam at eye height with the subject.  For singers, you will want to sing directly to the camera.  Place a music stand under the camera if you need your music.  For violinists/violists, a profile shot works best.

Please set up your primary light in a way it comes from behind the camera.  Too much sidelight or overhead lighting can cause weird and unflattering shadows. On the other hand, not enough light makes the image blurry. If the sun is right into the camera, again, the image is not great. Please consider adjusting the light with blinds, window curtains, or choose a different location in the house.

If you are using a backtrack/karaoke, sometimes, it is better to play the karaoke backtracks on a different device from the one you are broadcasting off of. If you are using a newer model of laptop and iPad, there is usually no problem to stream using the same device. If you are using Zoom, please choose the option of sharing with computer audio.

I hope you will find those tips useful. Online lessons offer the opportunity to connect with people from around the world. It is a new and exciting world that I just begin to discover.

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