The advent of FaceTime, Skype, Viber, and other face-to-face Internet communication has brought people together across continents and oceans. Grandparents in another country can now watch their grandkids grow up. Deployed military spouses can talk to their families back home from remote locations. Families open birthday and holiday presents together while being thousands of miles apart.
As technology has evolved over the years, so has music, and the ways we can access it. With these advances, music teachers now have the ability to teach music lessons online. The question remains, should we teach music lessons online? Playing the piano, or any other musical instrument is a hands-on activity. Is it possible or beneficial for a student to learn a hands-on activity from an online teacher?
The answer to both questions is a resounding, “YES!” Even if it’s for just one lesson, online learning can benefit both the student and the teacher.
How Teachers Benefit from Teaching Online Lessons
Imagine this: a teacher using Tonara has a thriving studio - 1000 miles away! When she moved away from her students, she was able to take them with her thanks to the Internet. Now, she continues to teach her music lessons online and stays connected with her students while she builds another studio in her new location.
Besides being able to continue teaching previous students, there are many other benefits to teaching online.
Using Your Time Wisely by Teaching Anytime
Teaching online allows you to utilize some of those teaching hours, in the early mornings and late nights, that are hard to fill because you now have the opportunity to take on students who are in different time zones. Because you’re also saving on travel time, you have the opportunity to take on even more students!
Keep More of the Money You Earn While Teaching Anywhere
Teaching from your own home could save you overhead costs you might incur working at a studio location. Depending on your situation, it might even reduce the amount you need to spend to make your teaching space work for students or families who still come to you. Thereby, allowing you to keep more of the money that you are earning.
Build A Community with All of Your Students
By teaching online and taking more students from around the world, you still want to give your students a sense of community. As a teacher, you never want your students to feel like they’re alone. By staying in touch with them in-between lessons, no matter what time of the day it is, you’re providing them the support and community they need to excel in their practice. You can even combine your online students with your in-person students to build a new ecosystem.
How Students Can Benefit From Online Music Lessons
As a student, taking lessons online can give you access to your favorite teacher. In the U.S., the average person moves every 5 years. It can be heartbreaking to leave a beloved teacher, but you don’t have to with online lessons! While change can be good, it is not always expedient.
Some teacher/student relationships are special, and maintaining that relationship helps to ease the transition into new circumstances. Consider these examples:
Caleb is on the autism spectrum. He is a brilliant young man, although his autism makes it very hard to communicate with teachers. When he finally found a piano teacher who “got him,” he blossomed into a fine young musician!
Then, his family was transferred. His parents actually considered turning down the promotion, knowing it would be devastating to their son. But his piano teacher reminded the family about Skype, and four years later, the boy is still playing piano and live-streaming his performances for studio recitals.
Andrea had been taking piano for three years. Her teacher said, “She was the first student to put smiley-face stickers on the stick figures in the Dozen A Day books. This kid cracked me up every week with some pithy observation or funny turn of phrase. (I still have to be careful not to say “stac-taco.”) When Andrea’s family moved five states away, she held onto me and cried. Luckily, Skype works over thousands of miles, and we are continuing our lessons. She is still a delight.”
In addition to maintaining student/teacher relationships, parents and students save time and transportation costs due to lessons being held in their home. And it can open the door to lessons for students who don’t have transportation options to get to a teacher’s studio.
But taking online lessons doesn’t only benefit the student. Teachers are finding many reasons why teaching online can be a win-win situation.
Bringing You Close Together
Because you are not physically there with your students, they learn to take more of an active role in the lesson. For instance, if you were to refer to a specific measure number with a live student you could just point to the measure you would like them to review. But with an online student, they have to find the place you are referring to. This encourages both of you to communicate clearly to prevent misunderstanding. Online teachers are also reporting that some students pay closer attention during online lessons due to needing to watch the screen to receive instructions.
Of course, there are challenges to not being present in the room, but students and teachers are finding creative ways to overcome those challenges. By using Tonara Studio to share multimedia-rich assignments and tracking practice progress, students and teachers are connecting in new ways that were never possible before.
At the end of the day, teachers want to know that they have made a difference with as many students as they can. Teaching online can make that goal even more of a reality since you can reach students you normally wouldn’t have been able to help. You can not only reach more students but also extend your reach to other cities and even other countries.