Can You Learn Piano on Zoom, Skype and FaceTime?
If you’ve ever wondered whether online piano lessons via video calling platforms such as Zoom, Skype and FaceTime are as effective as face to face lessons, here are a few of many reasons why they are, and you can also find out about another option for online piano lessons which can be even more effective. No need for any complicated equipment or tech know-how. If you’ve never tried online piano lessons, it is understandable that you might be apprehensive because you just don’t know what to expect. Or perhaps you tried it, and the particular set up or format wasn't quite right for you. However, in my experience as a piano teacher of more than 25 years, I can tell you that online lessons can be just as effective as face to face (in-person) lessons, sometimes more so. You just need the right set up, which is not that hard to achieve.
I taught piano in person for many years, then a few years before the pandemic I started offering online lessons. Then of course during the pandemic, many people turned to online piano lessons because they couldn't have their usual in-person lessons, or they needed something fun/worthwhile to keep them occupied during long hours stuck at home. As a result, many people who would never have considered online piano lessons before, discovered that actually online piano lessons can be just as effective (and not much different from) in-person lessons.
One of the formats of my online lessons has been via correspondence (video exchange lessons - read more about it here). This has proven to be incredibly effective for many adult learners because it allows them to fit their lessons into a busy schedule with no worries about trying to stick to a set lesson time. As the tuition is via correspondence, the lessons are asynchronous. This means the student sends videos of their practice/playing whenever it suits them, and the teacher responds with feedback and any necessary demonstrations, when time allows. As there is no need for an instant response from either party, it is much easier to fit in this kind of learning into a busy schedule. At the same time, the student gets personal coaching from a professional. Another advantage of these kinds of lessons is that the student can re-read feedback and instructions from the tutor, and re-watch demonstrations as many times as they like. This is just not possible during live lessons, and things that have been said or demonstrated during live lessons are frequently forgotten. If one of your concerns about the effectiveness of online lesson is that you don’t have a reliable or fast enough internet connection for live video calls, then asynchronous lessons of this sort solve that problem. You only need your internet connection to be able to cope with sending and receiving emails, and streaming video demonstrations.
Many piano students still prefer a set lesson time and instant feedback for their lessons, in which case they tend to go for live video call lessons instead of correspondence. These lessons are much more like the traditional sort of lessons (face to face, in-person lessons), in that the teacher gives instruction and listens to the student’s playing in real time. There is really not much difference between lessons via video call, and lessons in person. As long as the set up is ok, the teacher can see and hear the student’s playing just as well, and can watch hand and finger positioning in order to give advice on technique. Regarding set up, as long as the student has a fast broadband connection and a way of positioning the device used for the video calls in order to give a view of their hands on the keyboard, there should be no problems. This is the advice I give to students or parents of students for setting up the view for video call lessons. Whether you use a laptop, phone or tablet for your lessons, there is always a way to get the right position for the camera.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to see what I’m doing when I demonstrate during live video call lessons, you might be pleasantly surprised. I use a photography tripod which enables me to achieve multiple camera angles. This way I can show pupils a close up view of my hands on the keyboard, or a more zoomed out view demonstrating posture and sitting positions at the piano, or a view of my feet and pedals so that I can clearly demonstrate pedalling. You can see examples of some of these views that I offer here. You just need to ensure that the screen you’re viewing the lessons on isn’t too small. Unless your phone screen is quite large, you might prefer to use a laptop or tablet for the lessons.
More proof that online piano lessons can be just as effective as in-person piano lessons is the fact that many online students of mine have done exams and achieved very high marks. You can read testimonials and reviews from some of these students (and parents), and also from students who have just been learning for fun, but are again very happy with how effective online piano lessons have been for them.
To contact me with any questions about the effectiveness of online piano lessons, or to enquire about my availability, click here.
Update May 2021: I am still teaching exclusively online for the foreseeable future. As well as being safer, this has proven to be more effective and convenient. Social distancing during face-to-face lessons makes demonstrations less practical because a close up view of the demonstration is not possible. Demonstrations during online lessons are more effective because I can move the camera to give a close up view of my hands on the piano keyboard. Read testimonials from pupils who switched from in-person lessons to online lessons.
Important notice: During the Coronavirus crisis I am only teaching remotely (online); e.g. via Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger video calling; and via video exchange (correspondence) for people with slower internet connections or who find it more convenient. Remote piano and music theory tuition is something I already have a lot of experience with and have been set up to do since long before the crisis. Find out more about your options for online piano or music theory lessons here: