Virtual lessons

Dear Students and Parents,

I hope you are all doing well.  I admire how you’re bearing up with huge life changes, and continuing to flourish as violin students.

With a little less than a month left in our semester, we all need to generate one more big energy burst to have a great spring finish.   Now that we have done several weeks of classes online, we have the experience to have learned what we can do to improve the experience.  Most of these are simple things to do, and will truly enhance our experiences in class and in private lessons.

1. This clip is from The Royal Academy of Music in Denmark and describes how Zoom audio settings can be maximized for music lessons. It is about turning on original sound and turning off computer modifications and the auto setting of the microphone:

2.   Please do not take class either on a phone or tablet.  The sound (especially) and picture are simply unacceptable;  from now on workshop participants must take class on laptop or desktops.  This will ensure that you are on a wifi connection, rather than cellular. Please get set up with your computer in a steady position on a table or bookshelf that you cam play into comfortably. Make sure that the light is not behind you. Please position your child and music stand so that I can see both hands on all parts of the bow and violin on the student’s right side.

3.  More than anything music is about sound, and computers are not designed for high quality sound capture or reproduction. Without some help from external speakers and microphone, the sound is distorted, grating and unpleasant.  For very little expenditure, there are two things you can do to help with this.  Both will be very good investments in the quality of your learning and listening experiences.

3a.  Use an external plug-in speakers — at the least desktop speakers, but preferably higher quality computer plug-in or bluetooth speakers, which are readily available for as little as $50-75.  There is a huge selection and any of them — even the cheapest– will be a huge improvement over computer speakers.

3b.  Use an external (usually USB) microphone.  The internal microphone on computers (don’t even talk about the mics on phones and tablets!) are very low quality and pick up a mere fraction of the sound you make on your instrument.  Please consider investing in an external microphone — this will be useful to you far beyond the current situation, because it will dramatically increase the quality of any recording you make for auditions in the future. The one that is highly regarded in the Snowball — two models, Ice and Blue — both available for electronics dealers for less than $90.

If you will do these few things, we will be able to make a big improvement in the quality of the class experience.  I look forward to a terrific end of semester.

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