The world has Covid-19 right now, so us singing teachers are staying calm and acting accordingly to ensure you keep the enjoyment of music and singing alive and strong. I can’t be the only coach who has in the blink of an eye – gone from only teaching in person to suddenly ushering all of my students online, assuring everyone it’s all fine… whilst furiously watching tutorials on ‘how to confidently teach online’
Here is my un-official one week in report..
Step-by-step guide to setting up for an online singing lesson:
- Platform > Decide with your coach – which platform you are going to use and make sure you have any apps/links/invites required ahead of the lesson
- Contact details > Share and confirm emails/usernames required to connect with each other. Your coach may even offer a mini connection check prior to the session starting to make sure it’s all working both ends
- Two devices > Prepare TWO devices – one to chat with your coach on, and another to search for an play your backing tracks and music to sing to
- Full Battery > Charge said devices fully prior to the lesson starting – and make sure you have your chargers to hand. The last thing you want is to suddenly run out of battery mid lesson
- Close browsers > Ideally; close any other browsers on your device. This helps the connection to be as strong as possible for your online session. You might even want to ask others in the house to limit streaming etc as this will also help too
- Materials > Prepare your notebook/ drink / materials as you would for a usual lesson so you have everything to hand once you start, therefor enjoying an uninterrupted, flowing session.
Are online singing lessons the same as singing lessons person?
In a word. No. There is subtle body language and expression just not picked up online like in person. Your coach can assess posture, breathing, stance and alignment from many angles face to face and this scope will always be slightly more limited online. I did however teach my first few online lessons last week- and I really loved it! It’s a new challenge, a total curve ball and we are being imaginative with projects and content. The lessons went so well and all my students ended their sessions with a smile, excited to carry on practice, and exercises as usual. We celebrated a real mutual sense of achievement that it had gone so well and look forward to the next over the coming weeks…
What are the positives of online vocal lessons?
Angle > I am usually to the side, slightly below, or next to students when coaching in the room. Online suddenly meant looking directly from the front as a mirror image, enabling me to study shaping, jaw, posture, alignment and vowel production throughout the session (without intruding on my student’s personal space!). I find this very useful for feedback and to explain what you might look for when practicing with a mirror.
Driving seat > My lovely student commented last week that he unexpectedly felt “more in the driving seat” of the session. He suddenly had this cool ‘singing area’ set up at his home and felt really good about searching for his own tracks and having work space created as he wanted it. Sometimes; once home and out of the lesson room – exercises can feel a little alien in a brand new environment whereas here- the student has a lovely consistency from the end of the session – to continuing practice in the same space. I can’t remember the term – but this can really help with memory of how to perform the exercise with a far higher success rate.
Direct > There is a certain directness to being online. I found productivity levels to be very high due to this and we just got so much done! Most of my students take one hour lessons in person – I am angling towards maybe offering more frequent 30min online sessions – as it’s so easy to ‘check in’ more frequently and keep up that ‘little and often’ principle- especially if students find it hard to stay motivated to set their own practice in between our sessions.
Time and money saving > Online can be more financially viable as well as time saving as neither the coach nor student have to worry about factoring in venue hire/ travel time / travel costs / traffic delays or waiting times etc…
Students singing space > Usually, students come into my venue as the coach; so in this new instance – the student gets to prepare their own practice set up, bringing up their tracks, prepping materials and in a nutshell; become far more self sufficient. This is a great factor towards confidently practicing and setting up at home in between sessions.
What equipment do I need to take online singing lessons?
Some lessons last week were even taken over whatsapp video or facetime chat- and it all worked fine! No students had any microphones or earphones other than the devices in-built and we didn’t experience any problems. Skype, zoom and similar platforms will have more advanced features including the ability to record sessions. They say to invest in microphones and good earphones for teaching online. I have no doubt these will take sessions to an even higher level of operation and I might consider investing down the line for sure… but to start with, I don’t think they’re vital for the running of a session. What is vital – is good connection!
Should I record my online vocal session?
For safeguarding from a coach point of view- it’s advised to a) have a parent present at the beginning of the session and b) record the full session with parent’s permission. As stated above – students can also record their sessions on skype/zoom and similar platforms. This can by very useful for reference when practicing and keeping notes on lessons. Students are typically not permitted to upload publicly or share recordings without consent from their coach.
Take the plunge
We are embracing this together and as coaches we really are doing everything we can to make sure your learning experience is still the best it can be. We will continue to think creatively and productively whilst we venture into online learning together. I really hope you’ll give online lessons a go, as I think you might be surprised with how cool they can be! Whilst your at home, look after your well-being guys – it’s easy to slip and it’s going to be hard. None of us have lived through anything like this before but I implore you to keep a routine, keep laughing, and keep enjoying the things you love. We are so lucky as singers that we can do this at home, and continue with our music so; stay well, stay upbeat and if you are struggling at all, give one of us a shout any time xx
Written by Laura Ratcliffe, Founder www.thesingersclub.com
If you have specific questions feel free to write to [email protected]
You can also book a try out online session with any of our coaches and see what you think of it all!