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Online lessons, what we've learned so far

posted 21 Mar 2020, 04:49 by Catherine Jennaway   [ updated 21 Mar 2020, 04:50 ]

Dear everyone

Thank you for your patience and persistence as we've moved to online lessons from in-person ones.  I've been impressed at how well you've taken to the new way of working, and I've learned a lot myself in the last few days. 

Going forwards, I'm happy to keep people at their usual times and days for lessons on Skype, but if school being out means you'd prefer an earlier lesson time, or to change days, I may well be able to accommodate that.  Just let me know what you'd like to do.


One point that's come up a couple of times this week:  If you normally pay me cash on the day, I'm afraid that's not going to work any more.  These are the practical alternatives:

I can take payment by Paypal or by bank transfer.  Please ask me for details.

There are a few things I've noticed about the online set-up that I'd like to share with you all:

1.  If you still need to do set-up with me before your first session, please don't leave it until 5 minutes before your session is due - I am likely to be online with the person before you.  Earlier in the day or even a previous day is likely to be better.

2.  Please wait for me to call you - I may be finishing off something with the person before you, but I will call you as fast as I can.

3.  When we go online, if you're using a phone or tablet for Skype, please use it in landscape position - it gives me a better chance of seeing you clearly.  Portrait gives me a small narrow view of you.

4.  Try to get the camera as high up towards eye level as you can.  That way you'll feel more comfortable, and I won't have to stare up your nose.  If necessary, we'll do the lesson with you sitting down, though I will still be looking at your seated posture, of course.

5.  Please make sure your music is as near eye level as possible too, so that you are playing or singing with good posture.  If you don't have a music stand, this may be a good time to order one from Amazon or Musicroom. 

6.  Please make sure you have clearly readable copies to hand of anything you are going to sing or play.  Preferably printed out, or as a fall-back, if you're using a computer for the Skype transmission, up on the computer screen with the Skype window alongside.

7.  Please make sure that the gadget playing tracks is further away from the camera than you are, otherwise it'll drown out your sound.  This doesn't apply to flautists who are not playing tracks, of course.

8.  Also please make sure that if your track-playing gadget has a screensaver, you turn it off, or the music will stop unexpectedly in mid-song....

9.  And if it's a phone, please turn the phone/text notification sound to silent so we don't get random pings throughout the lesson.

10.  If the internet link falls over (sorry to the person who experienced that) I will finish the lesson off by phone - assuming, of course, that you have given me your phone number. 


Other than that, well done everyone, and I'll see you for your next lesson.

Best wishes