With the global pandemic showing no signs of abating, singing lessons have gone completely online now. Many students are reporting that these remote lessons are just as successful as in-person sessions! They tell me that because they can see themselves, issues of alignment, gesture & body language and facial expression are immediately apparent and are often self-corrected with no feedback from me.
The platform that I prefer to use is Zoom, and once you’ve signed up for lessons, the link to my Zoom studio will be on the calendar and in your lesson reminder. For the most successful experience here are seven items to keep in mind:
- A computer/laptop with a good WiFi connection and monitor is very important. The strength of your WiFi signal makes a significant difference in the success of your lesson and recording. The closer you can be to a router (or booster) the better. Using an ethernet cable is best. The larger your monitor is, the easier it is to see demonstrations by your teacher.
- Another device (smart phone, tablet, iPad etc.) in necessary to play accompaniment recordings. If the speaker on your device is inadequate, an external speaker will be necessary. There are relatively inexpensive wireless speakers available with good quality sound.
- Headphones or earbuds are necessary to reduce internet interference. Using the speakers on your device to play accompaniment tracks and/or listen to your teacher’s instructions will dramatically slow down the internet connection and increase both the lag time and incidences of freezing. The less information that microphones pick up and relay through the internet, the faster and clearer your connection will be. Any reasonably priced good headset or earbuds will work. If possible, opt for good audio only rather than something with a tiny built in mic.
- The built-in mic of your device is generally OK for casual conversation but for recording singing and participating in online lessons, a higher quality external mic is better. There are several good USB mics on the market. I use a Blue Yeti which is relatively inexpensive and versatile providing excellent sound quality. The Blue Snowball is another very good option.
- Cameras that are built into your laptop are in a fixed position and often of low resolution. There are plenty of inexpensive webcams on the market that offer excellent resolution and can be positioned to give great images. Using the camera on your smart phone is an option only if you have another device (not your lesson device) to play your accompaniment tracks on.
- Good lighting is necessary in order to be seen clearly. Position yourself facing a window or use other sources of lighting to give a clear, natural looking image with no deep shadows or washed out areas. There are inexpensive ring lights on the market that make good lighting available anywhere.
- A music stand and access to sheet music either via your own personal library, online resources or from your teacher, plus a good printer are essential.
The first three (computer/laptop with robust internet, device to play accompaniment tracks, headphones or earbuds) in my opinion are the most important items.
I’m looking forward to continuing lessons with you all and welcoming new students to the studio!