Tips for Transitioning to Online Music Lessons
The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the world. For many people, this has extended to how we work. For music teachers, one of the most pressing challenges has been the shift to online music lessons. With quite a bit of experience with teaching online and a focus on always learning, here are some tips for transitioning to effective online music instruction.
Have a Plan
This may seem obvious, but many people make the mistake of going into online music lessons rather blindly. Instead, it is important to take some time to familiarize yourself with the various technology that is available. One of the things to consider is what types of lessons fit best with what technologies. There are also innovative solutions for things like online scheduling and payments. Once you’ve investigated what is available, you can create a plan for online instruction.
Consider the Student
We all know that different students learn in different ways. However, with online instruction, there is also the reality that different students have different resources or understanding of technology. What do your students have access to? You may opt to teach some lessons on Facetime and others on Zoom. It all depends on how to best connect with each student.
Leverage your Strengths
This is important with teaching music lessons in general, but even more important in the online environment. If technology isn’t your forte, keep things simple. What are the best lessons that you typically deliver? Think about how those can effectively transition online. The key is to get students to engage with the content and to improve. How do you most effectively help students do that? Focus on your interpersonal skills and the ways you illustrate concepts. What worked in the past can still work online with a bit of creativity.
Utilize Innovative Assignments
There are many ways you can embrace creativity when teaching music lessons online. For example, consider giving your older students a research assignment to learn more about a famous composer or performer then have them write their observations about some of their more famous works. Have students keep a listening log or singing log. Send a listening assignment to help students better identify concepts in works. There are many creative ways to engage students outside of traditional lessons.
Be Patient and Adaptable
If there is one certainty when teaching online, it is that things will go wrong. Keep your cool and roll with the punches. Having a positive attitude and laughing away issues while you resolve them will help your students feel more comfortable and keep lessons fun. Your attitude will go a long way towards cultivating a positive learning environment for your students.
Ask for Feedback
This is a new environment, and you are not expected to be an expert. Feel free to ask students for feedback. Students may also not be familiar with how to give feedback, so structure it for them. Ask what things you are doing that help them learn, what things they would like to see changed, or new things that they would like to see. Open-ended questions such as this can greatly help you to improve how you teach lessons online.