Online Violin Lessons: problems I encountered and the solutions

  ******This article was written originally on March 25 2020*****

The situation changed drastically after March 20th 2020, the day the order was issued by the state; it became impossible to arrange one on one lessons with the students at the music school. The last time I saw my students at school was on Thursday the 19th.

Even before that, there were many parents who were very concerned about one on one lessons, so the music school started to be open to online lessons on March 17th.

problems I encountered at the beginning phase of starting online violin lessons

I, myself had some experience teaching online in the past. However, my students did not. They had to do certain things by themselves:

For example,

– turning the page of the music that they are playing,

– adjusting the height or angle of music stand,

– taking notes, and

– writing down assignments for the following week, etc.

Some students could not tune their instruments, so I had to introduce using some apps for violin tuning, explaining to parents how to tune the violin in general.

In addition, what I was hearing from the computer was poor sound quality; not only the violin sound itself, but I had a hard time communicating with my students (with some interruptions or delay as well as the video freezing up sometimes).

To be honest, I felt it was impossible to arrange QUALITY lessons.

As I mentioned, it was not the first time for me to teach online, and I never encountered this many problems at that time. What is going on ?!! I know this situation will not last forever, but can I sustain my work this way? Do I need to give up and quit teaching for a while, if I cannot provide certain quality lessons?

I was under an enormous amount of stress and frustration. I was worried and somewhat depressed for a couple of days, but by talking to colleagues, I was able to gain energy to cope and improve the situation. I tried three things (plus one) and went successfully.

Four solutions in order to improve the violin online lesson environment

1. upgrade the service and improve internet transfer speed

My husband talked to our internet provider and successfully changed the internet speed to be faster without additional cost.

You can check your internet speed at this site: https://www.speedtest.net

After upgrading the internet service, today’s (March 23 2020) results were:

Previously, the download speed was 30s.

Many people around me have concerns about using WiFi and its effect on health, so we are using cable and it is not a problem at all. (Later I found that cable is better than WiFi for online lessons)

2. Use earphones and a microphone

Previously I was using the my laptop build-in microphones and speakers, but I bought earphones which has an inline microphone, which is …

samsung active in ear headphones for active listener

Samsung active in ear headphones for active listener

These small wings fit your ears nicely so they never come out of your ears during the lessons even if you move your head, reach for the score, stand up, or bring your hand closer to the camera tin order to show your fingers or hand position, etc.

When I tried to listen to the sound with it for the first time, I felt that the sound was somehow metallic, but when I actually tried it for online lessons, it did not bother me at all. My students told me they can hear me better, so I have to trust their words, since I cannot experience exactly what that they are actually hearing.

**I’ve been using this for about 3 months and I like it very much. It is working beautifully. (wrote on 6/5/2020)

3. close all the other applications properly except the platform you are using

You need to close all other applications but the platforms you are using, like Zoom or Skype for online lessons. If you open the Task Manager, you will see some applications use a lot of memories. Closing all others will help your computer to work smoothly.

4. If you are using WiFi, your device should be closer to the router

This applies only when you are using WiFi, not cable connections like I do. This advice came from the music school and it seems to improve the online lesson environment considerably.

*****

It has been almost 3 months since online lessons became new normal. Some aspects are still difficult, however, I’m proud that I was able to overcome the difficulties I encounter and I’m able to guide my students to improve and progress. I’m happy to see the results and of course to see my students smile as well. (added on 6/6/2020)

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