Virtual, Online, Remote Music Lessons…How This Teacher Learned New Tricks

In the last two months, my piano teaching lessons have drastically changed. I haven’t seen a single student in person, but thanks to Zoom - the online video conferencing platform - I’ve seen many of them virtually. As I never had to teach in this way, I’ll admit, at first I stumbled through. But after some practice (just like when I first learned how to play piano), I’m feeling much more comfortable.

What I had to remember while fumbling through the technology, setup, and orchestration of something new, is ultimately the basic principles of teaching are still the same. When teaching music theory, for example, being able to present core concepts visually has been such a help in my students’ learning. I was keen to continue teaching this way, even though we coudn’t be in the same room together. 

But not to worry! I set up my magnetic stave whiteboard on the Zoom screen so my students could see it, and away I went with my lessons! Utilizing the music theory magnets on the magnetic stave is just as useful as it was before. I’m still able to use the notation magnets and the match-up magnets to help my students understand time signatures, key signatures, pitch, rhythm, and dynamics. At any time in the lesson, I can grab the magnets I need and put them on the stave, creating an instant visual representation of what I want to explain. It really helps me to break musical concepts down and make sure my students understand them. 

As the proverb says, "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." This is true of virtual lessons. As much as I love seeing my students in-person, virtual lessons can still yield the same results when integrated with practical learning tools such as the magnetic stave whiteboard and the music theory magnets.