By: Daniel Long
When you find yourself in a situation where your typical out-of or in-home music lessons are not possible, it can be a challenge to keep up regular practice and personal musical growth. We all know how important music is to us individually. We have our own reasons for being passionate about learning to create music and for wanting to inspire those around us to do the same.
Music has the ability to sooth or enliven, to communicate and even to heal. Not only does it provide the more abstract and ethereal benefits that we have all come to know, but it also helps stimulate brain development and cognition, encourages creative problem solving and helps strengthen critical thinking skills. This is why you (and/or your student musician) believe it to be an important part of daily life and why you strive for excellence in reaching your musical goals. While there is always a learning curve when making adjustments to daily life, we hope that this will help you to feel more comfortable (dare we say excited??) during the transition to remote lessons at home.
Create a “studio” in your home for the duration. Perhaps you already have a music room or playroom set up for music. If not, find as quiet a space as possible to use for lessons.
If possible, find a room free of TVs or other screens and distractions from other household members. A room with carpeting or rugs is usually the best to cut down on noise. Think bedroom, playroom or closet as opposed to kitchen or family room.
Familiarize yourself and your student with the app or interface you will be using. Especially look at any settings to manage volume input and to allow document sharing.
Be sure you have:
– Books and Music Sheets
– Music stand or something to hold music. For instance a tall stool in place of a stand. Drummers and piano players may even be able to rest their music on some part of their instrument as a last resort.)
– Ask your instructor if there is anything else they will need to complete lessons.
Zoom Tips for Success
1. Create a Zoom account with login and password. (Make sure to save this info.)
2. Download the Zoom app
This will provide a much better experience than running the software in a web browser. (IMPORTANT: You may still need to access the website to adjust some settings.)
3. Prepare the room
– Make sure your room is isolated with little distraction or noise. Request family members to avoid walking through or creating noise that would make it hard to focus.
– If your instrument is portable, a room with carpeting will help control echo and create clearer communication.
4. Prepare the camera
– Make sure your device has a stand or is positioned in a way to see the instrument as well as close enough to hear the student/instructor. Use a table or desk to position laptops, or consider purchasing an inexpensive iPhone tripod stand to improve your view.
– If you are able to login on two separate devices, one can be for teacher/student view and one can be aimed at the instrument. Be sure to only have one of the devices’ microphones join the meeting.
5. Adjust advanced settings menu in Zoom for best audio processing (drummers will need to disable these features)
– Disable background noise settings.
– Turn Echo Cancellation to Aggressive.
– Test microphone and speaker before video starts.
– Consider whether earbuds or headphones may be advantageous. This will vary. Consult your instructor and trouble-shoot together initially to determine your most ideal setup.
6. Remove all other devices from internet connection to free up bandwidth for your video call. Kick off family members/roommates who may be using bandwidth intensive things like streaming services, online gaming consoles, etc.
Get more music news on Mason Music’s blog.