Have you always wanted to play the violin? Online violin lessons are a great option for busy or remote students. Below, experienced violin teacher Carol Beth L. discusses several ways to prepare for your first online lesson…
Taking live, online violin lessons can provide a lot of flexibility absent in face-to-face lessons. Neither you nor your teacher needs travel to meet the other, making scheduling easier and more convenient. Live online lessons, however, are a bit different from face-to-face lessons as there are several moving parts. Therefore, it’s important to be sure you’re prepared. Here are a few things to test before your lesson begins.
Make sure you have a strong Internet connection and that you can log in to your preferred communication platform, whether that be Skype, Google+ or something different you and your teacher have chosen. If you’ve never used the platform before or you haven’t used it in quite some time, don’t count on just hopping on five minutes before your lesson begins. Remember Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. That being said, log in to the platform 15-30 minutes before your lessons begins to make sure everything is running smoothly.
The best angle
Check your camera connection and, more importantly, how you’ll appear on the screen. Your teacher will need to see you from the waist up to ensure you have the right posture. He or she will also want to examine how you’re holding the violin, so be sure that the entire instrument fits comfortably within the horizontal parameters of the screen. If you’re a beginner and aren’t quite sure how to hold your violin, you might try reaching your hand out to the left while in view of the camera. If the camera can see your face and your left hand at the same time, you should be fine. In addition to making sure you’re positioned right, you must find a space that has minimal disturbances ( if any) and you’re comfortable in.
The audio element is just as important as the visual element. Before your lessons begins, check the audio quality. This is especially important if you haven’t used the platform before or if you haven’t used it to record yourself. It’s a good idea to set up a chat with a friend or family member beforehand to see if he or she can hear you talk or play your violin clearly. While you’re at it, make sure you can also hear them!
Make sure you are on top of any additional equipment you need. Are you a beginner? Have a violin that fits as best you can estimate, but for young students especially, be ready for feedback from your teacher if necessary. Have rosin for your bow and a pad or chin rest for your violin (according to your teacher’s recommendations and your preferences). If you have a pad or sponge instead of a chin rest, make sure you have a way to attach it. A large rubber band usually works fairly well. A fold-up portable stand may also be useful, along with any books and CDs your teacher recommends. If you haven’t used your stand before, figure out how to set it up well before lesson day.
Once you are set up and ready to go, relax and have fun. Like many things in life, learning the violin is about the journey as much as it is about the destination. If you can enjoy the ride, you may coast further ahead than you would otherwise. Be prepared for obstacles; you and your teacher may find certain elements of your online violin lessons need further adjustment. If you can start successfully, however, those difficulties will be easier to negotiate.
Carol Beth L. teaches viola and violin in San Francisco, CA. She currently plays viola in the San Francisco Civic Orchestra and has been teaching students since 2012. Learn more about Carol Beth here!
Photo by Joe Shlabotnik