What do piano lessons over Skype look like?

Skype lessons are a great way to learn playing the piano.

This may sound a little bit scary at first – is it possible to learn an instrument online?

Yes. Teachers have been giving lessons online for many years, even before the Covid pandemic started.

They have found that sometimes online lessons work even better than in-person lessons and are more exciting for both students and teachers alike.

I am writing this article because I want to share with you my personal experience of giving piano lessons through Skype.

Lessons through Skype are individualised, one-to-one sessions. A lesson through Skype is not the same as a tutorial on the internet, where one can buy a collection of generic pre-recorded videos. Skype lessons are real private piano tutoring sessions.

Skype lessons are very similar to private face-to-face lessons. They are both specifically tailored to each student’s needs and goals.

Even if you are a beginner, Skype lessons can work very well as it is possible to learn a new skill and progress as the studies go by, exactly like with in-person lessons.

Skype piano lessons are exactly like in-person lessons – tailored to the student’s goals and progress.

What do I need for a Skype lesson?

For Skype lessons, like for any piano lesson, you need to have an 88-key weighted keyboard. In other words, a normal full-sized piano keyboard.

You also need a laptop or a tablet for Skype. A mobile phone could work as well, but the screen might be too small to see the teacher’s finger placement on the keyboard and to produce a good quality sound.

The teacher would need to see your fingers and keyboard during the lesson. This means that your device has to be placed near one end of the keyboard.

A good internet connection would be beneficial. 4G is normally not enough, but any broadband would work.

What if I have a question when practising?

The student can record a video or an audio when he/she has a question while practising or doing an exercise. The student can send this (or just the question) to me by email or WhatsApp at any time to ask a question or just for feedback.

If the student lives close to me, it is possible to collect materials from me in person. I can also send materials by email which the student can print out (or display on a tablet), or alternatively I can send materials via the postal service.

I also send students my own recordings of songs and exercises, which the student can reference at any time when practising.

When I give a theory homework, students can send this to me by WhatsApp or email as well.

What happens first when I sign up for Skype lessons?

When a new student starts, I do a short meet up and introductory session over Skype for free. In addition of getting acquainted, this allows the student to set up the computer gear.

During the lessons, the room should be as quiet as possible - windows closed to block street noises and fans turned off as these can disrupt the internet connection.

Are there any other activities?

For children, I organise virtual concerts where children can record themselves performing one or two songs that I then put together to create a virtual concert.

The concert can be accessed at any time via a private link, what can also be shared with family and friends.

Children can also receive tutoring for their ABRSM grades. Doing ABRSM exams during the Covid pandemic has been a little bit different than normal. We can discuss the remote ABRSM exams when there is a plan to do one of these.

It is possible to continue with ABRSM grade exams during the Covid pandemic.

Why aren't the Skype lessons cheaper than in-person lessons?

Preparing for Skype lessons is more time consuming for the teacher than in-person lessons, as it requires more planning and homework from the teacher to achieve the same quality lesson.

I am very happy to help my students learn to play the piano, and I feel very motivated when I see the student’s interest in the learning process.

I am very patient and I understand that every student is different.

Do you continue with Skype lessons after the Covid pandemic has ended?

Yes, because:

- It allows for lessons to take place even when a student is sick and can't come to studio, but feeling good enough for a virtual lesson.

- Many students (and their parents) have found that Skype lessons are time-saving as there is no need to travel to get to a lesson, or drive children and wait for them until their lesson has finished. In addition, I have found that most children (even as young as 5 years of age) do not need parental help or supervision to have Skype lessons.

- Skype lessons are not affected when there are problems with transport, like winter weather and rush hours, when the car is broken, or even when there is another natural disaster

- You can have Skype lessons from anywhere in the world

I look forward to meeting you in my Skype lessons!

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