After teaching guitar for fifteen years in a face-to-face setting, shifting online during the Pandemic was a big experiment for me. Given that I had little choice, I went into remote learning with an open mind and saw it as an opportunity to refine my teaching style. After some experimentation, remote guitar lessons work very well for me, but there are some things to consider.
To be successful at teaching remotely, I had to be exceptionally good at listening to what my clients were asking from me. Successful remote lessons require more than setting structured goals and providing practical approaches for practice. To be good at teaching music remotely, I had to learn a method of communicating that did not involve the crutches of the physical. As esoteric as that may sound, it has been enlightening.
I know many teachers who do not enjoy teaching remotely, and I cannot speak for them. Remote settings are only for some, and it is a medium you have to understand. Several students almost gave up on their playing altogether before reaching out to me due to bad experiences with prior teachers online. That was the motivation behind this article.
Once I thought about all this, I unearthed quite a few stones, so I created a more thorough post on finding the right music teacher. Hopefully, that post will shed some light for you. Below I have shared the most common questions regarding remote music lessons.
Does being physically present for a guitar lesson really make a difference?
The biggest concern I receive about remote lessons is if they are less effective when both parties are not physically present. There is a slight lag between speaking, but I have allowed this limitation to make me a better listener. Some rhythmic cues can be complex, but only a few. For the most part, with all other aspects of learning music, the lesson will be good if the teacher is good.
Can students see where to put their fingers?
Yes, absolutely. This has never been a problem with any of my students.
Do students need to receive physical adjustments from a teacher?
Some teachers prefer to be in the same room for this reason. I can easily communicate playing techniques to my students remotely, and I’ve never had a student who didn’t pick things up just as quickly over Zoom. My remote students often develop a more internalized awareness of technique because I guide them to where they actively discover that clicking point for themselves.
How young can a student be for remote lessons?
If your child did reasonably well with online schooling during the Pandemic, they should do quite well in a one-on-one music lesson. Being able to interact is what drives engagement!
What software do I need?
I use Zoom for my lessons because it provides the best results. However, I can use whatever software my clients are comfortable with. Zoom is free of charge.
What equipment setup do I need?
Just a computer with the minimum system requirements, your guitar, and a quiet, well-lit room. My setup is high-tech (for better audio quality), but I recommend keeping things simple and comfortable on your side.
How do I find the right guitar teacher?
Great question. I’ve made a post on this here.
Can I take lessons with you?
Maybe! Feel free to reach out at my teaching site here for more info.
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