Should You Consider Virtual Music Lessons?
[Today’s post “Should You Consider Virtual Music Lessons?” is from a guest contributor.]
Since the global pandemic of COVID-19, it has become difficult for teachers to continue any in-person lessons. Many facing this unexpected challenge have pivoted to teaching online and offering lessons virtually for their students, adjusting to the awkward reality and “new normal” that we have.
Though students who are homeschooled probably haven’t experienced much of this change, if their schooling is always done at home, they may have gotten used to seeing their music teacher in person to study their instrument or improve their vocal abilities. This can be a strange and undesirable change for both teachers and students. But online lessons are a great way for students to continue their learning while staying home, even with the obstacles and learning curves.
So, should you consider them? Let’s explore and take a look into the pros and cons of in-person music lessons versus virtual music lessons so that you can ultimately decide what will work best for your student.
THE CONS of Virtual Music Lessons:
Since students who are studying from home already have the limitation of not working alongside others in a school setting, for many, their music lessons are the opportunity to have some more interaction outside of the home. With virtual lessons, however, this becomes more limited, as the interaction is over video and connections are “lost” – sometimes due to faulty or unstable internet – but always due to not having a living, breathing instructor in the room.
In a society that is ruled by technology, music lessons can be a great opportunity for online learning, but the value of human presence also becomes undermined, which is why this is a con. So many people live isolated lives due to the ease of technology, so it can be really refreshing to have in-person contact. In that case, you may want to find other ways to incorporate music lessons at home instead of seeking out online lessons.
This can be a particular downfall to going virtual. During a music lesson, working with an instrument or even with voice lessons, teachers sometimes have to physically adjust their students. For example, when playing the piano, a teacher might adjust their student’s hands, or in a voice lesson, a teacher might pull their student’s shoulders back for better posture. This all falls by the wayside in a virtual lesson, since the instructor isn’t there to physically manipulate the stance of the student, and in some cases, may not see finger placement well enough to be able to adjust the technique.
The internet, although helpful in being able to allow students to continue their music lessons from home, will also affect the sound quality. Even with great equipment, such as good microphones and the use of a good speaker to transmit the sounds, there is still a delay depending on your connection from when something is played or said, to when it actually is heard from student to teacher and vice versa. Anyone who isn’t comfortable with technology is going to find frustration with virtual music lessons.
THE PROS of Virtual Music Lessons:
Broader Access To Teachers
When lessons are done virtually, that means you can learn from virtually anyone as well. The location between student and teacher – where they’re practicing from and where they’re teaching from – becomes a non-issue! This is especially great if you’ve been wanting to put your children into music lessons but haven’t found any quality teachers in your area.
This option opens up endless doors and opportunities for your homeschooled student. If your child is after mastering the piano, but there are no in-person options of high esteem near you, online lessons allow you to find and utilize teachers from all across the country who have classical training by booking through virtual music schools like Music To Your Home. Online lessons with a superior teacher are more likely to be worthwhile than in-person lessons with a teacher who is mediocre. You don’t have to settle when booking online, as your options are endless.
Less Stage Fright For Recitals
This can be seen as either a pro or a con, but it’s on the pro list. There is a lot of pressure on students to perform “perfectly” and so recital time can be particularly stressful for music students. Having online recitals has been a big change for many instructors, and some even are combatting the sound quality issues by having their students perform ahead of time, giving them multiple opportunities to nail their performance via video to show in their online recitals.
This really helps with students who suffer from stage fright but really want to be able to perform for their peers, teacher, and family. Early on as they are learning within their virtual lessons, the ease of recording allows students to also identify trouble spots and areas they need to work on with their music so that they can improve upon their performance. Also, if the recital is a live virtual “concert”, students also have the comfort of doing it from home which can lend itself to ease their nerves.
Travel and Time
Maybe due to traffic, your student is consistently late to his/her music lesson. This issue becomes completely eradicated with online lessons. With no travel required, except to walk to the computer (or device), this option can be very convenient, especially for busy parents who feel like they are always carpooling their children to an event, practice, extra-curricular, etc.
Doing virtual lessons also helps save a lot of time for parents, students, and teachers all around. Teachers aren’t waiting for late students so lessons are more likely to start and end on time. Students and parents aren’t spending all the extra time in the car traveling, so it cuts down allowing for extra time to get through the rest of a nightly to-do list! This can be particularly helpful for those who take music lessons in bigger cities, since commutes can sometimes take 30, 45, even 60 minutes.
CONCLUSION of Considering Virtual Music Lessons:
Are Virtual Music Lessons For Your Student?
Keep in mind, private music lessons are not the same as incorporating music education in your homeschooling. But they are a great way to teach your children about music and help them to cultivate and master a hobby that they love.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both in-person and online music lessons. The most important thing you can do is take into consideration what your child wants most, as well as weighing all of the factors involved in taking any lesson online.