Updated: Jul 26, 2022
*Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links in it. I receive a small comission from purchases at no additional cost to the buyer. I only recommend products I would use and love and that are of good quality. All opinions are my own.
Most private music teachers have possibly fully returned to in-person teaching at their homes.
The demand for online lessons however, is here to stay as many teachers realize online lessons are effective to implement especially with replacement lesson policies.
A new studio culture has surfaced since the pandemic where both teachers and students can effectively meet online for a lesson for various reasons such as illness, lack of transportation, or simply the convenience.
When I first started online teaching, it was scary. I was often confused with what I needed. I soon realized I did not need a whole lot of extra tech to give quality online music lessons.
There were, however, a few items that I was glad to have invested in, and still use with online lessons with students. Let's dive into the three teaching tools that I have found are here to stay in every music studio who has evolved into hybrid online teaching:
1. Adjustable Laptop Stand
If there was one teaching tool that truly made my online teaching comfortable and convenient, it was a laptop stand.
I really like the Samson LTS50 Laptop Stand for its sturdy and convenient stow-away design. This laptop stand functions like a tripod stand, with a secure tray that can swivel side-to-side with ease, and height-adjustable.
Some teachers have found ways to make a music sheet stand work as an alternative, but bear in mind ... a music sheet stand is designed to support books and sheets of paper ... not a heavier laptop.
As I teach out of my living room, I needed something that was not huge and bulky, and could stay beside my piano for a long period of time.
What I really liked about it was the ability to tilt the angle of my laptop screen whenever I needed to change the view for the student.
To quickly demonstrate a posture or technique form of the fingers and hand, all I had to do was tilt the laptop screen down. When I'm done, I readjust the laptop screen with my bare hands so the student can view my face as I continue teaching.
Quick and easy - no extra button clicks needed to switch from one camera to another!
This stand has become so useful in my studio, even with teaching in-person when I am showing a student an educational music video or a clip related to our music history learning.
I do have another camera (webcam) that sits above the piano to give a top view of the piano keys. Although, as I got more efficient in online teaching, I realized I was using less of it.
The less technology functions I had to manage, the more focused and engaged I can be with my teaching, which brings me to my next handy-dandy tool ...
2. Small Whiteboard & Whiteboard Gridding Tape
As much as I find drawing digitally on a screen with a mouse intriguing and exciting for students, I have realized that going back to basics using the pen and paper method is way quicker and efficient during online lessons.
When I need to demonstrate drawing notes, chords, or music symbols, the whiteboard is a quick pick-me-up and get into action. I draw using colored whiteboard markers as I hold up the whiteboard to the laptop screen. I create a music staff using whiteboard gridding tape.
The best part, this tool is also used with my students in-person when we play note naming games or even for the students to practice drawing music notes. Each of my students have been very intrigued with this setup and they always ask how did I make this by hand, haha!
3. External USB Microphone
Last but not least, I was so glad to invest in a good external USB microphone, which I still use today with all online meetings, workshops or lessons.
I believe everyone who has figured out online music lessons, whether you are a student or a teacher, appreciates having good quality sound coming through.
No matter which way you slice it, an external microphone transmits sound of your voice and instrument with much more clarity.
I personally enjoy the Blue Yeti External USB Microphone and it truly is worth the investment for its price.
This microphone also has the option to plug in external headphones if you wish (which I also highly recommend for good sound quality overall).
For me, online teaching will always be part of my studio. It has worked so well with a few good tools. It is amazing to see the rewards of engaging students without having to feel frustrated over the never ending list of technology options out there.
Wherever you're at with online lessons, I'm sure you have a few items in your toolbox that you realize are going to stick around for awhile. Please comment below, I would love to hear what they are!