Getting the Most from Online Music Lessons

For many of us, online interactions have become part of our daily routine. This transition to working online is allowing us to stay safe and healthy, particularly as we slowly work our way back into a sense of normalcy. As with all new endeavors, there is a period of adjustment where you assess how these new processes are working for you. When it comes to your music education, getting the most out of the online music lessons merely takes an open mind and a little ingenuity.

What to Expect: Online Music Lessons

Moving to an online platform is markedly different than meeting in-person. As we adapt to a new way of interacting with our teachers, our expectations have to transition as well. This can be a bit challenging if you are accustomed to working with a teacher in-person.

As you move into this new sphere, treat your first online lesson as just that: a first lesson. Working remotely can lead to a breakdown in communication if you are not vigilant about seeking clarity. Teachers are making efforts to modify their lessons and pacing to compensate for the changes inherent in online learning.

If there is something that you are having difficulty understanding, make sure to reach out to your instructor for clarification and assistance. Communicating any issues gives your teacher the chance to address your questions as well as to reframe concepts in a way that might be easier to understand. 

Setting Up Your Workspace

The wonderful thing about the digital age is that it is really easy to transition to virtual learning. Almost everyone has access to the tools needed for a successful online lesson: a computer, phone or tablet with built-in camera and microphone. These are some of the things teachers are considering when they set up their workspace.

Camera

When it comes to setting up your camera for your lesson, it can be as simple as taking a laptop and placing it where your face and hands can easily be seen. You want to make sure that your teacher is able to clearly see what you are doing. Since they are not in the room with you, any adjustments to your technique and positioning have to be done by sight instead of by feel. The main goal here is to ensure that your teacher can see what you are doing.

Microphone

Sound quality is incredibly important to virtual lessons, but you don’t need to purchase a fancy condenser mic in order to make online lessons work for you (unless you really want to). It is crucial that your teacher is able to hear you clearly. Depending on the platform that you are using for your lesson, there are ways to adjust the settings to keep your microphone from adjusting automatically. Another great option is to wear headphones with a built-in mic that is close to your mouth, which will eliminate any echoing/reverb that might make hearing yourself or your teacher more difficult. 

Here is a fantastic and detailed article about setting up your workspace for digital lessons: Setting Up for Skype Lessons.

Preparation is Key

Preparing for your virtual lessons extends beyond just setting up your camera and microphone. Here are a few ways that you can prepare before and in between your lessons to ensure that you have a great experience:

Materials

Nothing wastes more time than searching for or through your music while in the middle of your lesson. Having your books and sheet music readily accessible can help mitigate this loss of time. Another great way to save time is to bookmark the pieces you are working on with tabs, sticky notes, or book darts. Labelling your music will allow you to move between books and pieces of music with relative ease, which will make your lesson run more smoothly overall. 

Practicing

As far as overall progress is concerned, practicing between your lessons is critical. To quote Vince Lombardi, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” In order to practice perfectly, it’s crucial that you are accurately noting the homework assignments given by your teacher. This is particularly important when you are working remotely. Taking notes on how to handle difficult passages in your music will lead to notable improvements, especially when approached mindfully.

Cultivating a healthy practice schedule is one of the best ways that you can prepare for any music lesson, and this is especially true with virtual lessons. Practicing music consistently and effectively will make your lesson run more smoothly, particularly when your teacher is not in your immediate vicinity. If you would like to develop better practice habits, talk to your teacher. They can assist you in building a reasonable practice schedule that will help you economize your time while also maximizing your progress.

Tech Prep

Beyond preparing in the traditional ways, like practicing your music (which is a big one), it is also important to have your technology prepared for lessons. Make sure that your computer or tablet is fully charged before you begin. It is also helpful to have your power cords nearby, just in case.


Online music lessons are a great way to continue your music education, and our teachers are actively searching for ways to continue giving you the same level of education that you received in person. Contact the office at [email protected] to set up a virtual lesson with your favorite teacher.