As we’ve begun setting up for remote lessons ourselves, we found some tips that may be helpful to share. The following tips were what worked best for us, but it may differ for your situation. Please share any of your own findings in the comments below!
1. DO: Use as large a device as possible.
This allows your screen to show more people and angles at the same time. If you’re using a smartphone, you may have to do a lot of swapping and won’t know what’s going on when you can’t see a particular view very clearly. This is particularly important for students if the teacher is showing 2 views at once.
2. DO: Use two devices/cameras (if it makes the most sense for your instrument):
one focused on you speaking and another one focused on the instrument (e.g. hands on keys for piano, overhead for drums, etc.).
3. DO: Show an overhead view for piano/drums.
An overhead view is better than a side view (for showing hands), but setting up the side view is much easier. As an instructor, it may be best to figure out the overhead view, but students can just set up one device from the side.
4. DO: Take time to set up before the lesson and leave your setup in place.
Ideally you will only set up once and simply put your devices back in place before each lesson. Doing more work up front to make your space ideal can help make the rest of the time easier. This goes for both students and teachers.
1. DON’T: Have audio enabled on multiple devices.
If you are using multiple devices, make sure to have audio on only on one device. Turn off the mic and speaker or do not connect audio at all for the second device (preferably the one farthest from the instrument). Having audio on both will create echo.
2. DON’T: Use landscape orientation for live lessons.
Landscape can show more but appear vertical on the other’s screen. It may be ok for recording, but not for live lessons. A solution to capture more (e.g. if you need to show more keys on the piano) is to move your device higher. A boom mic stand with a phone holder attachment can help with this. Also newer phones have a wide-angle lens.
If you are moving to online lessons for the first time, Better Practice can help make it easier. Our app facilitates easy communication, keeping track of assignments, monitoring practice, and keeping your studio community engaged. Even if you don't see your students in person, you will feel like you're working more closely with them than ever.