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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!

I've been getting lots of messages lately from people asking if I do online lessons and I keep turning them down as I don't currently do them. I was thinking however that it might be time for me to start as there seems to be a good bit of interest.

What I'm asking you as someone who teaches or takes online lessons, what program(s) do you use to conduct the video portion? Skype, Zoom Video Conference, etc? Also do you have minimum microphone requirements for the students? I'm always wondering about the latency as well as audio quality issues.

Any help will be greatly appreciated, and thanks in advance!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
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I have used Skype with Tim Price for a year, and Tevet Sela for 4 years now. It almost always works and had little latency so you can almost play a duet with the student. I have a decent Cascade fathead mik here at home but Ive done lessons with just the computer mik and that worked fine. Look at what I said on my Jeff Hackworth thread about what I look for in a Skype teacher. But based on what Ive seen you do here on SOTW and your videos you will do fine on Skype. You have the knowledge and the personality to do well. K
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have used Skype with Tim Price for a year, and Tevet Sela for 4 years now. It almost always works and had little latency so you can almost play a duet with the student. I have a decent Cascade fathead mik here at home but Ive done lessons with just the computer mik and that worked fine. Look at what I said on my Jeff Hackworth thread about what I look for in a Skype teacher. But based on what Ive seen you do here on SOTW and your videos you will do fine on Skype. You have the knowledge and the personality to do well. K
Thanks for that- I really appreciate it! I teach tons of people each week but it's 100% in person so I'm curious about the logistical side of things for online lessons. Do you just use the program Skype?
 

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Ive used Skype for the 4 years of lessons. I think one lesson it was all screwed up and my teacher used Google play? or some google program and once we used oovo? But Skype is great 99% of the time. The big thing is you have to hear issues that you might not be able to see since you are not there. For instance, my flute teacher has lots of diagnostic etudes i can play for hear and she can hear issues she cant see. So I think Skype is better for intermediate students and advanced than beginner. But my teacher can still comment on my posture and embouchure position just from seeing what they can see on Skype. The one watch out is as a student I get real annoyed if I feel like the teacher is answering emails or doing something other than pay attention to me. At close to a dollar a minute that gets real bad real quick. Also , my flute Skype teacher keeps a running journal on the one note drive program so I can see (and I print this out) all the things we have worked on week by week and what she wants/wanted me to focus on .Thats very valuable . You might consider giving a trial lesson , say 30 minutes for free so the student can see if your personalities match, thats what Tevet did and here it is 4 years later? Im still taking lessons. In my case I told him I wanted to do a CD within a year and since he had done many of his own he walked me through the process and improved my skills along the way. What "sold" me on Tevet is that although I don't want to sound like him and I really don't want to copy his solo ideas Im convinced thats he is a master on the alto and his ideas on really doing everything chord related was radically different from anything i had studied previously. So that was good for me. You can figure out student to student what is most important to them . I think the biggest selling points of Skype lessons is the value and not having to drive somewhere. I had a wonderful in person flute teacher but she went from 55 for 45 minutes to 60 for 45 minutes so I fished around and came up with a wonderful Skype teacher for flute who has the same level fo teaching ability but is only 60 for an hour and I don't have to drive 45 minutes to and from the lesson> I hope this helps K
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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I have run into issues when students are trying to run there computer through wifi. They have high speed internet of like 100MB but when they run it through wifi and the computer isn't connected by a cord I have gotten a lot of freezes and drops. Also, sometimes weird things happen when someone on either end doesn't update Skype and the versions you are using are different. I have been calling students, they don't get the call, they don't look like they are online either. Meanwhile they can't see me and they are trying to call me with no answer from me. One of us updates Skype and then it works fine. I've taken a break from it for awhile since I have been sick. Hopefully will be feeling better soon........
 

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I teach a lot through Skype because I live in a fairly low-population area, so I take on students from out of town a lot. I ask them to get an inexpensive USB mic of their choice if they can afford it, but most laptops have a halfway decent mic these days. Skype lessons are an excellent way to make extra dough if you need it and you find your current market is saturated. When I have a student sign up, I give them my Skype username, which is unique to me so they can't accidentally call anyone else, and I tell them when the lesson is and that I expect them to call me. If I don't get a call through the program at the proper time, there will be no lesson. From there, you can make the decision to either charge for the lesson proper, or to charge for the time they've booked, so you still get paid if they don't show.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you everyone for the feedback! I will definitely be looking into getting it set up in the near future. As far as what Steve said about wifi, has anyone else had issues with that? I would be using a laptop over wifi as well (have Verizon fios around 100mbps up and down) and am wondering if there will be issues with that.

Thanks again!
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Thank you everyone for the feedback! I will definitely be looking into getting it set up in the near future. As far as what Steve said about wifi, has anyone else had issues with that? I would be using a laptop over wifi as well (have Verizon fios around 100mbps up and down) and am wondering if there will be issues with that.

Thanks again!
I guess you have to check your internet speed with the wifi. Depends how strong the signal is and who else is sharing it. I will say that I used to have Verizon also with 100MB and when I did a wired internet speed test it was close to the 100MB. When I did the exact same test with my wifi it was 6mb. Try doing the test and see how you make out. Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess you have to check your internet speed with the wifi. Depends how strong the signal is and who else is sharing it. I will say that I used to have Verizon also with 100MB and when I did a wired internet speed test it was close to the 100MB. When I did the exact same test with my wifi it was 6mb. Try doing the test and see how you make out. Steve
Just used speedtest.net and got 105 download and 98 upload over my wifi- I guess I'll be good!
 

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Just used speedtest.net and got 105 download and 98 upload over my wifi- I guess I'll be good!
Maybe.
Just word of caution. WiFi doesn't receive and transmit at the same time, unlike wired networks. It also has to be polite to other WiFi systems the in the area. The result can be fine either sending or receiving lots of traffic - but can be flaky when you try to do video conferencing stuff which requires both sending and receiving lots of traffic simultaneously.
And that can get very flakey if both parties are like that (as the tools try to adjust)... But often is ok, if course.

If you can manage a wired connection to your router, it'd be safer.
 

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I have been getting Skype lessons for several years. Before I started, I asked the teacher if I needed a different mic or camera. He suggested I try with what I have and see. I haven't used anything but my laptop mic and camera since. I do plug the computer into a set of external speakers (a Bose docking station, nothing fancy) It is good enough for me. Occasionally we get some audio bounce, but adjusting setting (usually on his end) generally fixes it, so get to know the Skype settings. Also, you often need to keep current on your Skype software. I signed on for a lesson once to find out I was out of date and it wouldn't work.
I agree with Keith that it may not be ideal for beginning students where hands on demonstrations of basic techniques may be needed. We also generally don't play together due to latency. Occasionally I forget and start to play something to the metronome on the other end. Suffice it to say that doesn't work. Demonstrating fine points of fingerings and such can be more difficult, but we work through it( with some interesting contortions).
I also record the lessons using a handheld Zoom recorder that I just sit on the desk. Volumes are balanced enough. All in all a very simple setup that seems to work fine.
I always have a metronome, notebook, music stand, music, and phone with IRealB Pro and anything else I think I might need set to go before the lesson. Documents and links are easily shared during the lesson as is music (Either one of us plays a tune from our computer and both hear it just fine.)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update: I've now taught a bunch of online lessons and Zoom Video Conferencing works perfectly! Using wifi on my laptop and have had zero issues so far- crystal clear picture, great audio, no interruptions, and totally free! It's great to finally reach some of the students who have been asking me for lessons for awhile now but live much too far away to do them in-person. Technology ain't half bad, huh?
 
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