Many people today are opting to learn how to play their favorite instruments or interpret notes on Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or even specific online websites set up exclusively to teach music online. It is incredibly convenient for both students and teachers who do not have to incur transport costs. As a learner, you can have control over the classes, pause, rewind, and use the vast array of resources online to hone your talent in music. If you are a music master hoping to turn your skill into a source of income by passing it on online, then this article will guide you on how to go about it:
Consider the time difference
A major advantage of having an online school is that geographical boundaries are no longer a hindrance. Students from all over the globe can access your lessons so long as they have a computer and a working internet connection. To make sure that this advantage is fully leveraged, consider ensuring that time zones line up, especially for live lessons. It would be rather disappointing to a client to miss out on a class, and frustrating if you set up and no one showed because they have no idea that it was time for class!
You can send confirmatory emails that provide details and the time of the lesson and ensure that the email includes all students’ time zones. You can also use some tools like ScheduleOnce; for a small fee, it will help you localize the time and date for both you and your students automatically.
Keep your hardware and software current
Ensure that your computer and network devices are in perfect working order at all times and that the software you use (e.g., Skype) is up to date to avoid glitches or security-related events. It is also recommended that you have wired internet rather than wireless ones, Wi-Fi can end up being disappointing you with its constant sketchiness. Connect your laptop to a power source, because the combines use of Skype and the internet is a fast energy drainer. Test all your devices before class, especially the microphone and camera.
One of the biggest issues that arise with the use of video-conferencing tools like Skype is latency, which is the delay experienced between when you speak and when the listener on the other end hears your message. This issue is best addressed by clear speech and acknowledging that it exists. Allow your students time to understand fully what you have said rather than be fast to account for latency. Pronounce each word with clear diction, and play any instruments slowly and clearly. With time, you will learn how to time responses to ensure that students are not left behind.
Use excellent lighting
Ensure that you interact with your students against a well-lit background where they can see your face and hands as well as the fine details often encountered in music classes. You want to be close enough to the camera for students to see the details, but far enough for comfort as well. When working with a webcam, being front-lit is better than being back-lit as these cameras do not register backlighting.
The way your students position themselves is also critical for optimal delivery. Ask them to set up their devices to promote comfort as well as better viewing of your illustrations and learning materials.
Use high-quality equipment
It goes without saying that you will need excellent video and audio quality. An ancient computer with an old front-facing camera is not going to cut it. You will need to invest in a laptop or desktop with a high-quality front-facing camera. Alternatively, you can purchase a webcam and attach it to your machine. Good definition will increase the quality of delivery and client satisfaction, and within no time, the investment will likely pay for itself. Also, ensure that your device has an outstanding in-built microphone.
You also need to get a reliable internet service provider that will provide fast, strong internet. Often, having an object or document too close to the camera to show something to a student will result in a pixelated image. This issue can be overcome by using a strong internet connection and a high-quality camera.
Find ways to make your classes engaging
While online classes are the in-thing for the many benefits they offer, the fact remains that face-to-face delivery is the best mode of learning, not to mention the opportunity to better interact with students without all the technology. Teaching via video-conferencing can also be a challenge for you. To make the classes more engaging and fun, offer your students links and emails containing additional resources that they may not find anywhere else. You can send an email after every class with the fine details of that day’s content, and homework that they can use to hone their skill from home. Ensure that your students have something to look forward to every day.
Keep driving traffic to your website
Do you already have a website set up? If not, you may want to set one up to be a platform for communicating with both existing and potential students. Keep the traffic coming to increase the probability of signing up new students. If you are an established musician, you can set up a separate landing page where fans interested in learning music from you can access further details. This way, you will not worry about the messages you send out to your fans, who probably are only interested in your music. On this landing page, you can offer a sneak peek into one of your classes, testimonials from other students, a catalog of the services you offer, and a call to action for them to pay for your classes.
Starting an online music school can sound rather challenging, especially when your focus is on the initial expenditure and the threat of more established institutions. However, with the tips above, you can design a great course that will get students coming in from all over the world.
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