Teaching a live online lesson requires us to consider some workflow, setup, and communication protocol that is unique to the medium.
Room setup and lighting
Look in the self-view of your video chat application before starting a lesson. You can instruct your student along these same lines:
Start your lesson by looking at and speaking to your student
Consider the physical lesson--the student and you first meet face to face, discuss the past week's goals, practice sessions, challenges, discoveries. If you like to focus a webcam on your hands or instrument and you’re only using one webcam, be sure to start a lesson with this face to face communication and then reposition your webcam as needed.
Advise your student regarding their set up and webcam position and communicate with them as you would at the beginning of any lesson before switching to an instrument-focused view.
This is one reason some teachers use multiple webcams and switch between them with a physical switcher or an on-screen tool. A “communication” camera and a “demonstration” camera can be an effective starting point.
During the Lesson
Communication via webcam has fundamental differences from a physical environment. For example, we can’t simply bend over and point to a place on the page and say “start here” or make pencil marks on the student’s page. Therefore, some things to consider:
Lesson follow up
Establish a communication flow with your student for the period between lessons. This will assure that they don’t abuse your time by over communicating with you electronically about insignificant items, and also that they understand to what extent your channel is open and what kind of response time they should expect.
The live online music lesson format also makes it convenient to schedule mid-week “check ins” or short sessions to make sure that student practice habits are on track. I’ve considered how a highly iterative music learning process might work in previous posts, and I think this is one of the many great benefits that the live online lesson medium offers--the possibility of more frequent feedback and interaction between student and teacher.
Please discuss and comment. What are some ways you as an online teacher optimize the experience, setup, and communication?
Observer of the world of music, performance, learning and technology. Performer, Producer, Recording Artist, VP Community and Content-Zenph Inc.