How to Temporarily Switch to Online Lessons for Your Piano Class During the COVID-19 Lockdown

by Daniel Patterson

How to Temporarily Switch to Online Lessons for Your Piano Class During the COVID-19


In the case of piano teachers, what does that mean for their music? Fortunately, the learning doesn’t stop for teachers and students alike as there are modern solutions that provide access to low-cost courses, piano lessons, mentoring sessions, and more.  

The list caters to non-tech-savvy users to computer geeks, making it easy to find the ideal option that suits your tone. There are also studio initiatives that provide a lifeline for musicians, teachers, and students who are looking to keep on playing even in this COVID-19 outbreak, offering extensive advice on how to survive the current lockdown and low-cost online music education resources. 

With that in mind, the list below explores the different ways to continue your piano lessons – with or without a good internet connection! 

For Non-Techy Piano Teachers, Go for Phone Lessons!

Teaching piano lessons requires full attention, which means it can be a challenge when there’s a barrier between you and your students. For one, you’re only relying on your telephone or cellphone, which means your students can’t see your actions. This method will take longer than most and requires patience, but it is just as effective in improving your students’ piano practices. 

Equipment Needed: 

  • Headphones or earphones with a mic for both the students and teachers. This ensures that their hands are free to listen, speak, and play. 
  • Telephone or cellphone with the ability to be on “speaker” mode for students and teachers who have no headphones or earphones.  

How to Teach Piano Lessons Through Phone

Before anything else, always direct your students to place the phone next to the right side of the piano. This releases the bass, and when it comes to translating music through digital waves like the phone, the bass will always come through better than the treble.  

Don’t forget to advise your students to place it on a different surface than the piano rack as both your playing will cause distracting vibrations. Moving forward, here are some ways to overcome the following challenges you’ll face when teaching piano through phone lessons: 

Challenge #1: Keeping the Attention of Students When You Can’t See Each Other 

Engaging students when you’re on the phone can be difficult. The enthusiasm to learn can fizzle out when you start to drone on about theories, so rather than discussing directives, it’s best to turn them into questions to ensure the students are always active. 

For instance, if you’re pointing out that the m.3 is an F#; instead, you can ask what is the first note on m.3. Encourage them to look at the m.3 and also ask them to determine whether the particular note is natural or sharp. 

After confirming the question and note with your students, you can proceed by asking them to play the F natural to instill your lessons without falling back to a one-directional approach of teaching music. To that end, one way to overcome the challenge of not seeing each other is to keep engagement at an all-time high by asking questions and understanding your student’s thought process. 

Challenge #2: Hearing Dynamics Despite the Low Volume and Slight Distortions When on Phone

When using phones, even the most hi-tech mobile devices make it difficult to hear the dynamics in play. Be sure to let your students know that it will be hard to pick up on the differences in volume, but turn it into a fun challenge for them. 

You can go your way around them by asking them to add dynamics exaggeratedly, which means soft parts should be quieter than a whisper, while fortes should be a thundering boom. This should even out the odds and make it even a fun exercise of control for your students when incorporating dynamics into their playing.  

Continue Your Piano Lessons Using Facetime, Zoom, or Skype Lessons 

Using video chats like Facetime, Zoom, or Skype for your piano lessons offer more flexibility and breathing room for both you and the students. For one, you can now use different kinds of equipment to enhance the lessons, though keeping it simple for non-tech-savvy users offers just the same enriching experience.  

Equipment Needed: 

  • Cellphones, an iPad, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer that can do Facetime, Zoom, or Skype near the piano for the students and teachers alike.  

How to Teach Piano Lessons Through Facetime, Zoom, or Skype 

The challenges when using video chats for piano lessons won’t be as demanding, but some notes to keep in mind include the following:  

Challenge #1: Where to Sit Properly 

When you’re using video to demonstrate techniques or what you’re playing, be sure to place the device at an angle that shows your piano and you sitting on your piano bench. A spot that allows students to see their faces is good, especially when taking a directive style to teaching piano. 

Challenge #2: Sound is Still Distorted and Delayed Over the Internet 

Even when you have a fast internet connection, there will always be a few seconds of delay when playing over the internet. The digital barrier doesn’t have to compromise your lessons, though, and as mentioned earlier, you can use it as a challenge. 

For the distortions, ask your students to exaggerate their dynamics the same way in the tip above in phone lessons. The distortions can also make it difficult to see whether they are practicing with proper or improper technique, which is a challenge on your part as it forces you to sharpen your eye further.  

In Conclusion: Using Different Tools and Ways to Grow Your Class and Keep the Music Alive During this COVID-19 Lockdown 

While resorting to phone or video chat lessons is not a long-term solution, it’s an enriching way to beat the odds when you’re in a global crisis. Not only do you contribute to the fight against the spread of the coronavirus, but it also makes you a better piano teacher as a result as it forces you to think out of the box.  

Scaling your studio or music school can still happen online, so if you’re looking for professional studio services that can help you attract and keep more students even in these trying times, we are your best option! Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you grow your music studio.

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Daniel Patterson is a private teacher, writer, and marketing consultant for music schools. He began teaching in 2004. He co-founded and led marketing operations for a summer music camp that sees over 200 children each summer.

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