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EXPERT ROUNDUP: Taking Piano Teaching Online for COVID-19

By Emily Laney | Online Teaching

Mar 17 2020

Piano Teaching Online during COVID-19 main imageThe teaching industry has redefined itself overnight. Many of us are now navigating a quick but necessary pivot to teaching piano lessons online during COVID-19. Though, with little to no prep time, it can feel like “Ready, Fire, Aim.”

In this article, we’ll have a roundup look at experts who are sharing their best tips on taking your teaching online, with many tips available at the free and immediate-use level.

We felt this is a time we’d like to see thought leaders come together and help.

Educator Fred Rogers famously said:

When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Here’s our list of expert-level teachers who are getting it right, and helping in the community:

Janna Carlson

Janna’s an expert at handling change and transitions since taking a successful group teaching studio from North Caroline to the west coast of the U.S.

Janna clears the fog around how to get started with online teaching, and she has know-how about how to handle groups online – a unique area. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start here first with a super quick read! 

We loved: her answers to questions we’ve all felt like — what if something goes wrong during online lessons?

Great quote:piano teaching online COVID-19 janna

Steve Treseler

Steve Treseler, an A-list jazz performer, composer, and author, just took his entire saxophone lessons studio in Seattle online last week due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

His article handles questions like audio quality on lessons, to latency (answering questions like why you might experience echoes or tin-can sound from your students’ pianos.)

We loved: his tips on how to do back-to-back appointments, and transitioning from one person to the next’s lesson.

Read Steve Treseler’s article here on Medium.

Stephen Hughes 

An online lessons thought leader, Stephen Hughes is running an open Facebook thinktank – the Virtual Music Room – with multiple videos and tips daily about teaching piano online, which is not to be missed!

A teacher from the group successfully held a 9-student performance class this week online, using Steve’s tips.

We loved: his how-to’s on running an online recital.

Find Stephen’s all-in-one article for a brief overview, or head to his FB group here.

Bonus: Stephen will be upcoming on our podcast show, soon!

Joy Morin

Popular blogger Joy Morin of the Color in My Piano blog has a beautiful summary article just out on teaching online.

If you know Joy’s work, you can count on useful, fun tips, like organizing your teaching for the online format, to taking notes for assignments (not as easy as it seems!)

We loved: Joy’s colourful photos showing real-life setups of both her end and suggestions you could make to students about their setups.

Read Joy’s article here.

Joey Lieber

Founder of Online Improvisation School and a noted teacher, Joey Lieber frequently helps teachers online, with an attitude of calm expertise.

In his quick crash-course delivered in bite-size servings on video, Joey shares his top tips for online teaching in a 22-minute course – available on Teachable for free!

Great quote:piano teaching online COVID-19 Joey Lieber quote

Frances Clark Center

Go to the academic and full-mastery level with these daily workshops by the Frances Clark Center, from a rapid response forum about going online immediately, to striving for excellence with teaching advanced students online.

Daily workshops are scheduled for the next two weeks, with replays available.

Nicola Cantan / TopMusicPro Workshop

piano teaching online covid-19 courseWe have a Pro membership workshop on Online Teaching & Video Lesson Basics which released today, by Nicola Cantan, who also writes at Colourful Keys blog.

Here’s a fun action shot from the workshop:

piano teaching online covid-19 nicola studio

Nicola shows a quick and simple setup in her home studio.

 One idea I loved from this workshop: in case of technical difficulties, have video lessons as a backup option. Send the parent a quick memo that you’ll send them a video of today’s lesson instead, which you can record and deliver by YouTube. 

Related: tomorrow on YouTube, I’ll share in 7 minutes my fav speed tips for making engaging video lessons that retain students’ attention really well.

Conclusion

Our focus right now is on helping you make confident transitions for taking piano teaching online during COVID-19, and finding the joy amidst the adjustments. (It can be fun! I’m looking forward to meeting my students’ pets finally!)

We will continue this month to bring online teaching ideas to you in a variety of formats on this blog, on youtube, and the podcast

Connect with us on TopMusicPro if you’d appreciate a mentored approach to hitting your stride in online teaching.

So, who are we missing? If you know more notable teachers who are helping others right now, please let us know in the comments below! 

Emily Laney

About the Author

Emily Laney is content director for Topmusic.co, and teaches piano privately in Texas, where she's given over 19,000 private lessons. She's helped develop the careers of concert artists through the Van Cliburn Foundation's International Piano Competitions, and promoted classical concerts from Lang Lang to Yo-Yo Ma. She holds a BA Music/French and is on an MBA track currently.

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