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Preparations for Online Lessons – What You Need to Know




04.04.20 – Darrell Priestley

Music lessons online – what a wonderful thing, at times like now. But lessons online are different in a number of ways to lessons in person; to make the most of them, we all need to tweak our approach. Hence, we have produced a guide here that will help you approach your lessons and preparation. With a smart approach, you will maximise both the fun you have and the progress you make as together we go through this most unusual of times.

Since the doors of the Academy have been closed, Darrell and Eileen have been working on ways to bring this new format to life. In many ways, the lessons themselves are the easy part. More challenging has been the creation of a system to support moving lessons online, involving communication, booking and overseeing the whole endeavour. Though we have really tried, issues with our existing G Suite, which has hitherto served us admirably, have made it difficult to transition to the new system we have in mind. We are therefore turning to a new Microsoft system to support the business, which will require additional days to set up and then to learn, after which we expect to have it running well enough to start making lessons happen. Prior to this, we must prioritise students are who already paying for their lessons by standing order, but we expect soon to be in a position to start lessons for you all.

We have trialled sessions to determine what problems there might be. Generally the trial sessions have worked very well indeed, but you may want to spend a little time beforehand checking the settings on your device, especially microphone and sound settings, as it is improtant that student and teacher can both hear one another clearly. Consider using headphones if the built in speakers are not so good, but you should use the computer or smart phone’s own speakers, or better still attach seperate speakers if you want others in your home to hear the teacher’s contribution and performance examples.

For practical reasons, online lessons will observe a temporary timetable which may differ from your regular day and time. On lesson day, invites will be sent as an email request, asking you to join a meeting. Please be sure to respond at the appropriate time, and bear in mind that you may have to wait until your teacher has concluded the previous lesson before they can join you. If using a computer or laptop, the app should generally open in a browser, but if you plan to use a smart phone or tablet it may be necessary first to download the relevant app.

Until the new system is fully set up and working, we will generally be using Zoom software for online lessons. In the near future, we expect to transition to using Microsoft Teams for this purpose. This software will allow us to develop, adapt and personalise lessons over time, and may even have an added benefit in being useful for practice and lesson preparation after lessons in person resume again, depending on the working methods developed by each individual teacher.

Don’t forget, Darrell is working hard to keep everyone feeling informed and involved, and putting in special effort at this time to offer support by updating this page daily and making it helpful and relevent to you, our students and their loved ones. We suggest you visit often, not just for news and tips, but simply to remind yourself that you too are a part of this beautiful music community, all of us looking forward to when life outside the home opens up to us again.

Further tips ”Making the Most of Lessons in Lockdown” will be published soon – bookmark this page and check back here regularly.