Music lessons in the time of COVID-19


Our world has been forever altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus began to spread around the world, teachers have had to adjust their teaching methods. I have tried Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and Zoom, but my preferred platform is Zoom.

These online platforms were created for virtual meetings, but were not optimized for sending the nuances of musical sounds over the internet. Luckily, Zoom offers options to change such sound settings in order to allow a clearer sound.

In the beginning, it felt like a temporary solution for only a short time to be switching to online lessons. However, as social distancing rules were extended again and again, it became clear that this was a format we would need to get used to for the next few months, if not longer. The more I taught online, the more I realized ways I could take advantage of it. Here are 5 things I do in my online lessons:

1. Share your screen in Zoom

Using the “Screen Share” button, we can do theory worksheets together, and I could mark them immediately. It’s also SUPER useful to show students what/how to write in their music.

2. Plan virtual performances

We got together for a fun Pajama Piano Party! There was a high number in attendance because…well, it’s not like you have somewhere else to be!

3. Use physical props

Try saying “B” “C” “D” “E”… They all sound pretty similar! Also, it’s more challenging to pick up on eye contact and body language through a screen, so students are forced to work hard to listen intently. They’re more than happy to see your emotion visually conveyed through a sign, for example. You can also hold up a letter and use the bass/treble clef signs to indicate high/low sounds, left/right hands, etc.

4. Use various ways of evaluation

Here, I’m watching and listening to the student on my laptop, following along in their music, and writing notes in their assignment. Not to mention snack and bathroom breaks are now a cinch!

5. Use Timewarp’s Internet MIDI

Internet MIDI has become a popular option for teachers, who use keyboards because they can easily show their students what they’re playing, but also how loud (volume levels are shown when a note is played) they’re playing. It also shows pedaling. If the student also has Internet MIDI, the teacher and student can play duets together. The best part is the sound comes directly out of the other person’s keyboard, so there is NO degradation in sound! What a game-changer!

Click below to purchase your copy at 50% off until the end of May 2020! Note: my opinion is NOT sponsored by Timewarp Technologies. Below is a video demonstrating the powers of Internet MIDI.

How have you adapted to teaching online? What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them in the comments section!


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Published by hannahannika

Piano Teacher

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