Everything You Need to Teach Music Online

by Daniel Patterson

Everything You Need to Teach Music Online

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Milton Berle

Do you want to teach online music lessons in the most effective way possible?

Do you have questions about how to get set up? What programs to use to teach music online? How to explain this format to your students? How to get students on board?

Well…. look no further.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of resources from all over the web – studio owners, tech-savvy geniuses, MTNA members, and others.

These 41 resources we’ve compiled will help you build the door to starting and running a successful program for teaching music online.

Want a copy for yourself?

You can download it here.

For easy navigation, here is a list of categories:

My Favorite Resources

Teaching Music Online: Setup Resources

Educational Resources

Online Courses

General Resources 

General Tech Resources

Zoom Tech Resources

Self-Care Resources

Many of the articles could fit in multiple categories. Our categorization tends to focus on the unique angle they bring within their article, ebook, course, or podcast. 

Let’s begin!

 

My Favorite Resources

Many resources have been published about teaching music online… But here are a few of my absolute favorites. I have selected these for the depth and quality of the material.

How to Teach Online Piano Lessons | Hugh Sung

This is one of the more comprehensive tutorials available right now regarding equipment setup. Hugh has been teaching online piano lessons for 11 years, so he writes from experience. In this post, he walks through every piece of equipment he uses (with Amazon links!), explains how to communicate with families, and demonstrates how to connect cameras and devices to ensure smooth integration.


Online Teaching Starter Kit | Carly Walton + Carol Matz, Free

This free mini-course includes a 54-page digital music download, email templates, and a prep checklist. It was designed and used by studio owners Carly Walton and Carol Matz.

Technology Lessons – “Let Me Be Your Technology Guide” | Steve Hughes, $75

This is a customized course where Steve identifies your needs and makes a schedule with you to help you set up your lessons, solve technical issues, and more. It’s really helpful if you’re experiencing issues with your online studio but work better with a one-on-one resource. It saves a lot of time – you don’t have to do all the research!

Getting New Students During a Crisis or Recession | Daniel Patterson

This live stream addresses the thoughts that Daniel is seeing in the community around online lessons. He talks about a number of topics—troubleshooting online lessons, how you can thrive over the coming months, and answers dozens of questions that he received from the community about teaching online. He also addresses how to market your studio and get your families on board when starting to teach music online. Check out how to make your studio “recession-proof” in PART 2 of this live stream.

How to Teach Music Online | Bradley Sowash, $50

Based on years of experience teaching online lessons and drawing from previous presentations on this topic, Bradley shares his best tips and what mistakes to avoid including: before the lesson, during the lesson, after the lesson, pedagogy, and stuff you never thought of.” Each class includes two hours of class and a private Facebook support group.

Online Music Lessons Are The Future. Here’s Why. | Ben Nguyen

“Online music lessons are the future,” according to Ben Nguyen. Ben focuses on why they didn’t work in the past, what’s changing, and a glimpse into the future in this comprehensive article. If you’re looking for a reason to jump into teaching music online, Ben nails it here.

 

Teaching Music Online: Setup Resources

These resources cover how to set up your physical studio space, the equipment you should use, and more. Some resources overlap; however, they are included because each studio owner brings their own perspective to setting up your studio for teaching music online.

The 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Switching to Online Music Teaching | Ben Nguyen

Ben gives a comprehensive list of how to set up your online teaching business. “If you’re new to online teaching, this will give you the confidence to take action and be proactive with teaching online. If you’re already experienced, this is a great way to make sure you’re not making any of these mistakes.”

A Guide to Offering Music Lessons Online | Deborah Rambo Sinn

Deborah offers a simple guide concerning things like the equipment you should be using, troubleshooting your internet speed, and preparing your students for the switch to online lessons.

Teaching Piano During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Joy Morin

Joy shares how she has set up her current online piano lessons using a simple setup with FaceTime – she doesn’t use a mic or a stand, so it’s an interesting take on those who aren’t interested in using a lot of expensive equipment.

Resource for Students: Preparing For Your Online Music Lesson | Terry Smith

If you’re using Zoom for your online setup, this is a great checklist to send out to families to make sure they’re ready for every lesson. Giving parents a checklist for the weekly lesson is great way to support families who are new to this format.

A Tennis Ball Can to Teach Piano Online? | Leila Viss

Leila is an innovator! She wasn’t interested in buying expensive tripods or stands for her online lessons, so she used a tennis ball can as a stand for her phone so students can see the piano keys. She gives us a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this.

Video: Set-Up for Online Lessons | Talia Girton

Talia uses My Music Staff to integrate Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime into her lessons and has been able to retain 100% of her students! She recommends doing test calls with parents to help troubleshoot their own setup as well. Talia is a marketing client of Grow Your Music Studio with a thriving studio in London.

 

Educational Resources

Switching to online lessons? Trying to communicate with parents in the best way? These resources will help.

Will Online Piano Lessons Really Work for My Child? | Wendy Stevens

Wendy’s ComposeCreate has always been a helpful resource but she is the voice of calm in this post concerning online lessons. She answers these questions:

  • Will this really be like regular piano lessons?
  • Is it even possible that this can be as good as in-person lessons?
  • Why should we continue lessons when the economy, my job, other things are so uncertain?
  • Doesn’t this just mainly benefit the teacher financially?
  • What should I expect at the first online lesson?

Easy Ways to Switch to Online Piano Lessons | Wendy Stevens

While most teachers are switching to Zoom, Wendy offers some alternatives like “phone lessons,” FaceTime, or Skype lessons. This resource is helpful for those who are just starting remote lessons and are trying to adapt it to their teaching styles and preferences.

Online Lessons for Piano – A Guide for Parents and Students | Elena Lee Fortin

Elena provides a short summary of these hot topics: The Setup, The Software, Taking an Online Lesson, and prep (“Before the Class”). It’s short and helpful for those just getting started.

Teaching Music Online: How to Engage Students Through Your Virtual Classroom | JW Pepper

This article covers a variety of topics related to online lessons – creating virtual music projects, performing and connecting, using online tools, and at-home music activities you can share with your students. It’s filled with links and resources from studio owners who are currently adapting to the new normal. Carnegie Hall posted a similar collection of resources targeting the same topics.

TEACHER FEATURE: Jonathan Roberts on Virtual Recitals for Students | Joy Morin

Joy interviews a teacher who is currently offering online lessons. Jonathan Roberts gives tips on how to think “outside the box” and reimagine your studio. It’s helpful for teachers who want to set up performances with multiple students or an audience.

5 Teaching Ideas Perfect for Online Lessons | Alexa Madison

Ear training, improv, 20 questions…if you’re looking for more content + creativity in your online lessons, Alexa provides a unique set of methods she is currently using!

 

Online Courses

These online courses are affordable and worth your time if you need a more in-depth look at how to set up your virtual lessons.

How to Teach Music Online | Bradley Sowash, $50

Based on years of experience teaching online lessons and drawing from previous presentations on this topic, Bradley shares his best tips and what mistakes to avoid including: before the lesson, during the lesson, after the lesson, pedagogy, and stuff you never thought of.” Each class includes two hours of class and a private Facebook support group.

Getting Over the Fear of Teaching Online and Video Lessons | Jennifer Fox, $49

Jennifer offers a mini-course with actionable steps for setting up both online and video lessons and ensures you will grow more confident “when it’s time to go live or press that record button.” She also opened up a “preparation checklist” as a free resource for anyone to access whether you enroll in her course or not.

Teaching Online Lessons | Tracy Capps Selle, $29

NOTE: Enrollment for this course closes on April 11th!

This course focuses on creating less work for the teacher, setting up makeup lessons, and communicating online lessons to your clients. It’s a great starter kit for those currently making the switch to online lessons.

Teaching Music Online – Starter Training | Carmen Morin

This six-module course (which is still evolving) starts with a basic online setup and runs through troubleshooting Zoom, setting camera angles, PDF annotation, and storing lesson notes. It’s all-inclusive and totally free.

 

General Resources

These resources cover an expanse of material – tips and tricks, educational add-ons, and maximizing effectiveness within your already successful online program.

10 Simple Tips for Your Online Teaching | Faber Piano Adventures

Having trouble getting started with online lessons? Faber offers both resources and advice for overcoming some of the challenges faced by studio owners like monitoring practice, what format to use for lessons, and using video/audio recordings.

Podcast: Building a Virtual Music Studio (Part 2) | Steve Hughes

Aside from the how-to podcast for setting up your online lessons – both basic and optimal –  Steve includes links to helpful resources like a Facebook Group for Virtual Music Studios, a training course for studio owners, and a tutorial for Tonara.

How to Maximize Your Effectiveness When Teaching Lessons Online | Tim Topham

Tim Topham is the owner of TopMusic.Co, and along with his resources and blog post on that website, he hosted a webinar to tackle some common topics around online lessons. The topics and questions are time stamped in this article, so you can pick and choose what you want to hear.

 

General Tech Resources

This material covers more than Zoom – there are even some integrative apps you can add to your toolbox.

Video: Submitting Recordings through Practopus | Ben Potok

Ben Potok created an app called Practopus for his students to help them practice. Over time, he developed a Premium version of the app to handle student recordings, direct feedback, file attachments, recurring due dates, and in-app rewards for an unlimited number of students. He said, “Given our current situation in education and the world, the fact that we are still finding ways to reach and teach our students is inspiring. I hope that Practopus, premium or not, can be a tool for you to help fulfill your purpose, even from home.”

Technology for Online Music Lessons | Terry Smith

Terry walks you through the video, audio, computer, and software settings he uses for his online lessons with Zoom. His system is integrated with Fons and Tonara.

Google Marked My Studio as ‘Temporarily Closed’. It’s Not. | Sara Campbell

You may not even realize this is an issue, but Sara offers a solution for those dealing with Google marking their businesses as ‘closed’.

 

Zoom Tech Resources

These resources answer ALL your Zoom questions and help you troubleshoot common issues.

Webinar: Teach Music Theory Online Using Zoom | Gloria St. Germain

Gloria gives great advice for teaching private or group lessons online using Zoom, finding useful and affordable equipment, and methods for increasing income.

Optimize Zoom Audio Settings for a Remote Music Lesson | “Network Phil”

Phil comes from the other side of the lessons – he’s the parent, and he learned how to set up online piano lessons for his daughter. He recommends purchasing an affordable external microphone and walks through the steps to set it up on Zoom. This is helpful for teachers who have already set up Zoom and maybe it works, but it’s not the BEST it can be!

Tips for Online Piano Lessons with Zoom | Leila Viss

Leila provides a checklist, a helpful shot of her current studio, and practical steps for setting up a simple Zoom account – she even gives you the steps to set up a second camera in your studio. This is a great resource that includes videos and tools from other studio owners as well.

 

Marketing Resources

Smooth out your transition to teaching music online, adapt some sample emails to your own studio, and read tips on how to best communicate with your clients.

6 Ideas to Adapt Your Private Teaching Style to Online Lessons | Rebekah Maxner

Rebekah recognizes that a lot of studio owners, including herself, were unprepared and a little nervous to adapt to online lessons – she gives great, actionable advice to studio owners in similar situations as well as some sample emails. Simple yet helpful.

Sample Online Teaching Email | Doreen Hall

Doreen shares an email she sent out to her studio parents when making the switch to online lessons. She encourages readers to use it as a template and modify it to fit their needs. If you’re in a rut and trying to figure out how to communicate with parents right now, this is a great resource.

How to Make $10,000 a Month Teaching Music | Grow Your Music Studio

Though this article was originally written about group lessons, the tactics here apply to online lessons as well. Using social and search marketing is the best way to get new students for your studio 

Sample Online Teaching Email | Doreen Hall

Doreen shares an email she sent out to her studio parents when making the switch to online lessons. She encourages readers to use it as a template and modify it to fit their needs. If you’re in a rut and trying to figure out how to communicate with parents right now, this is a great resource.

 

Self Care Resources

If you simply are in need of support and encouragement during this crazy time, these confident studio owners have shared some words of wisdom with us.

5 Tips for Staying Sane through Online Lessons | Janna Carlson

Janna offers a fresh perspective that you might not consider in all the mess – taking care of yourself! Read this if you’re stressed, overwhelmed, tired, or just need to readjust your focus on what really matters.

You Have Great Job Security: Here’s How to Make it Better | Janna Carlson

Janna talks about “doing a familiar job in an unfamiliar space.” She recognizes that you might be an expert in your field, but you’re jumping into a brand new method of doing what you know best! This is a helpful article for anyone who want to improve their job security.

3 Things to Learn from the Online Shift | Marcin Bela

Marcin covers three important topics when considering how to teach music online and what to take from this experience: trust, ownership, and purpose.

Keep Calm and Teach On | Sara Campbell

Sara offers a simple mantra for those who are in need of encouragement and support during this time. You may have just spent hours or days trying to get everything right, making the switch from in person to online lessons, and this is  the perfect article for your weary mind to take a quick break and give a pat on the back for a job well done.

Quarantine Days: Time, Music, Philosophy | Michal Tal

A four-minute read. Michal offers a retrospective interpretation on our current situation and identifies some things we are all dealing with – information overload, fatigue, sore throats, and carpal tunnel. It also denotes a hopeful tone and helps us realize that this is all temporary.

Voice Saving Tips for Teaching Online Music Lessons | Sara Campbell

Those experiencing sore throats and tired voices because of online lessons will find this short video helpful. It’s a practical and simple solution that requires minimal effort on your part!

 

What do you think? What resources have you found helpful? Let me know in the comments… I will very likely add them into the article!

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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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