With all of the wonderful reasons why you should consider virtual lessons, it is also important to address some of the challenges that can come up. Let’s face it - as teachers and as students, we are used to the idea of an in-person lesson. So while it is great to expand into virtual lessons, we also need to take the time to plan appropriately.
I’ve identified three major challenges that can come up with virtual lessons, and three ways you can turn them to your advantage.
Challenge #1: no (or poor) internet access.
It can be a good practice to offer a two minute test call before starting a virtual lesson, to both confirm the connection and make sure the quality is workable for student and teacher. This way, when its time for the virtual lesson, you can jump right in!
If the connection isn’t good, then its time for some creativity. Perhaps a couple of students can gather at one student’s house where there is a better connection. This is also a great opportunity for group lessons! Or perhaps they might be able to use the music room at school. The end result isn’t to avoid virtual lessons, but to encourage creativity and partnerships.
End advantage: Creativity and collaboration!
Challenge #2: sound distortion.
Even with the best internet connection and a nice microphone, the sound quality can still be difficult to navigate via virtual lessons. This is a great time to get your students to exaggerate their musicality! Aspects such as dynamics, articulation, and general style won’t translate well due to the sound compression. Getting that exaggeration will help your students with a wider range of expressivity.
End advantage: expressive musicians!
Quick tip: use headphones to help cut down on feedback, and use a quiet room that is free from distractions and extraneous noises.
Challenge #3: limited view.
With a limited view from the webcam, it can be difficult to see as much as you would with an in-person lesson. This is one of the reasons I advocate for a blended learning approach (mixing in-person lessons with virtual lessons). I like to have my camera set up so I can move around to show different parts of the flute, posture, and hand positioning, and ask for the student to do so as well. This has lead to some outside-the-box moments from myself and my students!
End advantage: creative teaching and fun lessons!
I hope that by addressing these challenges of virtual lessons you feel more confident in offering or taking them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on challenges and successes of virtual lessons!
Contact me so we can set up a virtual lesson - I would love to work with you!
Check in next time for something tiny!