27 Oct 2020
By Ellie McKinsey
In 2020, many teachers have had to change their teaching techniques. Even with social distancing measures, some music-making can increase your risk of spreading or catching COVID-19.
To protect themselves and their students, teachers and schools are moving many lessons online. The idea is great; students continue to have music in their lives, and teachers can pay their rent. However, teaching online requires different strategies than teaching in person.
Here are 5 top tips to make your transition to online teaching smoother.
Teachers are turning to the increasingly popular video chat app Zoom. If you’ve tried to use it for music, you might notice that the sound is flat and quiet. The good news is that with a few setting tweaks, you can fix that.
Follow these settings and ask your students to do so as well.
Now you’re set. When you start your meeting, make sure the bar in the left top corner says “Original Sound On.” Tap it to change the status. Also, be sure to make your meeting private!
One of the most challenging aspects of working from home is maintaining a work/life balance. Setting aside a designated “teaching area” can help you to separate your teaching from relaxing. It’ll also be easier to keep a small corner tidy, free of clutter, and child-friendly.
Have a good light, your instrument, a stand for your laptop, a music stand, and your instrument. If you’re using an external microphone or an ethernet cable, store those in your teaching area.
An external microphone can do wonders for your sound, helping your students to hear your instructions clearly and meaning you won’t need to repeat yourself.
If your internet connection is flaky, try using an ethernet cable to up your speed. If your laptop doesn’t have an ethernet port, get a USB to Ethernet adapter.
Find the best video chat app for you. Most teachers today are using Zoom, but Skype is another free option.
Before your first lesson, do a trial run with a friend. Try to make everything the same as your lessons; use the same device, external microphone, Zoom settings, and wifi connection.
It’s also worth testing out your lighting and placement of your camera. Try to have the light facing you and don’t stand in front of open windows. If you’re backlit, it will be harder for your students to see you.
It can be tempting to treat working from home differently than heading out to work. Your commute might be shorter, but you will still need time to transition from a ‘home mindset’ to a ‘teaching mindset.’
Spend 10 minutes before your first lesson preparing your teaching tools. Make sure your laptop is on and charging, and check your Zoom settings. Connect your external microphone and have a bottle of water handy.
Teaching music online is a big transition. Follow these steps to reduce your anxiety and improve the experience for you and your students.
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