Online Lessons: Tips For Students

Kay BarkerMusic EducationLeave a Comment

Learning an Instrument From Home
About the Author

Kay Barker

Kay Barker is a teacher and musician with degrees in vocal performance and psychology. She co-founded Musicologie in 2014 and has toured nationally with her band Bella Ruse opening for artists like Sarah McLachlan and Heart.

It’s bee more than three years since we started giving online lessons at Musicologie in March of 2020. Since then most students have returned to in-person lessons. While we love in-person lessons and our neighborhood lessons studios, we know online music lessons are convenient, especially when you’re traveling, have a sick kid at home, or just don’t want to make the drive.

So, we continue to offer online lessons, and have made it super easy for our in-person students to switch their in person lesson to an online lessons with the click of a button. We’ve taught tens of thousand of lessons online and know how it works! I’ve collected some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your live online music lessons.

Download Zoom

All our lessons are on the video chat software Zoom. You’ve probably already used it. It’s the most popular platform and great for online lessons because of the screen share and live editing features, plus it works on every device. Download it here >>

If you haven’t used it before, create an account and start a test meeting right away to make sure you’re ready to go for your lesson.

Get Your Audio Settings Right

Zoom is set up for spoken voice, not for music and singing. So, you need to change your audio settings to get the best lesson experience. Watch the videos below from Lewis Center Community Manager Justin Swain for how to change your audio settings.

Mac/PC Audio Settings

iPhone Audio Settings

General Tips For Online Music Lessons

  1. Be in a quiet place. The quieter the better. Make sure you can hear and be heard by your teacher.
  2. Eliminate distractions. Don’t be in high traffic zone in your house, or where other family members could distract you.
  3. Use a laptop if possible. It stands up by itself and it’s easy to angle the camera where it needs to go.
  4. If you’re using a tablet or phone, use a stand. Something simple like this one will work for most phones. Or put it on a music stand. If you have a mic stand, you could get really fancy and use something like this.
  5. Have your laptop or device plugged in. Virtual lessons take a lot of battery power and your device will drain faster than you think! You don’t want to run out of power in the middle of a lesson.
  6. Make sure no one else is using your wifi. No one should be watching movies or playing games on your wifi during your lesson, unless you have a super fast connection, 100mbps or higher.
  7. Turn on the lights! Make your room as bright as possible. This will help the video quality and help your teacher see what you’re doing.
  8. Have all your music handy, as well as a pencil so you can take notes.

Tips for Young Learners

  1. Parents, be present the whole lesson! You’ll not only be needed to facilitate the technology, but also so you know what your child is learning and how to help them practice at home.
  2. Creating a distraction free zone is even more important with young learners. Designate a quiet space to be specifically the ‘lesson space’. It doesn’t have to be a separate room. This is easy when learning piano because you have to be sitting at the piano! For other instruments, you could have a dedicated corner of the living room to stand for violin lessons, or a specific chair to sit in for guitar lessons. Building consistency and habit is key.

Tips for Specific Instruments

Every instrument is unique and there are specific things you can do to make virtual lessons work well for each


  1. Set up your device so your teacher can see you AND your hands. Place your device on top of the piano to the far right or left, angled down.
  2. If you have an acoustic piano, don’t place your device directly on the piano. Put it on a towel or a pillow to insulate it from the vibrations.

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