Have you ever considered enrolling your kids in virtual music classes? Perhaps you've even pondered the idea of tackling a virtual learning experience yourself.
If so, you're not alone. An increasing number of kids and adults are trying out all sorts of learning in the digital space. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many students experienced virtual learning for the first time. For others, it was a comfortable and familiar way to learn.
Even as the pandemic recedes, it seems likely that more and more people will continue to teach and learn virtually. For some people, the concept remains a difficult one. How is it possible to learn to play the trumpet or the piano on a computer? Wasn't that just a temporary solution?
The reality is that virtual learning can have many benefits for students. If your children are taking any kind of music education classes in the virtual space, there may be advantages such as:
- Being able to learn on their home instrument, in the case of piano lessons
- Not having to travel from one location to another
- Having access to a teacher who might live on the other side of the country
- Making music lessons accessible to kids living in remote areas
Although virtual music lessons have many advantages and are becoming more common, certain misconceptions about virtual learning still persist. Are any of these misconceptions holding you or your children back from having an enriching experience?
Misconception #1: Virtual Music Lessons Aren't "Real"
This is a misconception that seems to follow most online learning endeavors. The perception that online classes somehow are not as real or rigorous as those that are presented in a brick-and-mortar location is simply false.
Music instructors who teach in a virtual environment have the same background and education as teachers who provide in-person lessons. Many of them hold advanced degrees in music education and performance, have performed widely themselves and are experienced teachers in more traditional settings.
Accordingly, such an instructor who offers virtual lessons is just as knowledgeable and qualified as a teacher who has a physical studio. They are capable of introducing all of the basic fundamentals as well as advanced techniques so that students can continue to grow and learn over the course of time.
Misconception #2: Virtual Learning Can Make Students Feel Isolated
Most students, both children and adults, who experience virtual learning find that it's not isolating at all. They get to have energetic interactions with a teacher who cares about them and their progress. Moreover, teachers often facilitate group lessons, online parties and even performance groups. If the teacher and students are in the same geographic area, they may sometimes meet in person to socialize, rehearse or even perform. It is not uncommon for students with the same teacher to develop close and lasting friendships.
Misconception #3: It's Just Not Possible to Teach Music in a Virtual Setting
This is one stubborn misconception that simply isn't true. Several forms of technology make it possible to teach absolutely anything online, music included. Thanks to cameras and microphones, a teacher and a student can see and speak to each other in real time. Additionally, it's possible for both parties to see and hear what the other is playing, facilitating efficient learning that feels a lot like in-person lessons.
Thanks to the power and flexibility of technology, it is even possible to have several kids participate in band and choral ensembles even if they live in different cities or states. The opportunities for online performance are many, and those in a similar geographic area have the option of occasionally learning and performing in person.
Misconception #4: Teachers Like the Virtual Classroom Because It's Part Time and Flexible
While this may be true for some online music instructors, it is definitely not the case for all them. Some virtual music teachers are contracted to virtual schools. These schools offer a full academic curriculum including all of the basics like math, science, languages, history and music. Students from elementary school through high school attend daily classes at preset times. They must take the same state tests as are given to students at brick-and-mortar schools, and they are required to meet all of the same requirements in order to be graduated.
Consequently, teachers at these virtual schools are required to attend class at scheduled times Monday through Friday. After-school activities, like a band performance ensemble, also may be available. Like any other teacher, the instructor who works in an online format must prepare lessons, set homework and grade their students' work.
The dress code might be more casual for these teachers, but they must adhere to the same schedule and work full-time hours. Some of these teachers even provide music lessons for private students in the evening.
Misconception #5: Online Music Classes Are Just Too Complicated
If you are a little bit wary of technology, then it's understandable that you might feel this way. The reality is that online learning probably is a lot easier than you realize. You may even already have everything that you need.
For instance, online music learning only needs a computer with an Internet connection, a camera and a microphone. Most laptops and PCs produced within the last few years have all of these components as standard equipment.
That's really all that is required to get started with online music lessons. The teacher may have a preferred conferencing website or software, but most of these are readily available for free and are surprisingly user-friendly. Most music teachers who specialize in the virtual space choose a conference software that requires no special training or instruction. Students simply log in and get started at the appointed time.
Advanced students who are making progress in leaps and bounds may need to upgrade their equipment. A high-grade microphone or better camera may be essential to really getting down those advanced techniques. However, basic computer equipment likely is more than sufficient for most online music lessons.
How Can Students Succeed with Virtual Music Lessons?
Students who are embarking in online music classes can succeed by:
- Attending all class sessions
- Doing regular weekly practice
- Having a dedicated lesson and practice space
- Using the right technology
- Setting goals
The short answer is that students who are enrolled in online music classes will succeed just as their peers who are learning in the studio. Regular attendance at lessons and practicing several days per week are the main keys to making progress.
Students learning music in the online forum may benefit from having the use of a lesson room or space at home. Having a space that is dedicated to lessons minimizes the distractions that may come when a student is trying to take a lesson in a room where other things are going on. The lesson room could be the student's bedroom, the home office or even the kitchen. The only essential thing is that the lesson be allowed to continue without interruptions.
It's also important to ensure that you're using the right technology to ensure the best experience. As an example, it's wise to use a device that has a larger screen so that it's easier to see the teacher's hand placements. There's nothing inherently wrong with taking class via a smartphone, but you can see so much more on a larger screen.
Similarly, you'll want to be certain that you have a strong and reliable Internet connection. This also helps to minimize disruptions and distractions so that the lessons can proceed as smoothly as possible.
Just like a music student who is taking in-person classes, it is critical that the student in a virtual setting sets goals for himself. Whether the goal is to master a certain technique, play a certain challenging song or give a good performance at an audition, goals can be extremely helpful for students who want to keep their motivation high.
Additionally, virtual music students should be encouraged to keep practicing throughout the week. This is really the only way that progress can be made between one lesson and the next. Teachers in a virtual classroom will advise students about the best ways to practice and how much practice they should be aiming for each week.
Get Started with Prodigies
Are you convinced that online music lessons are just as "real" as those that take place in a brick-and-mortar setting? Perhaps you aren't entirely sure.
Regardless of what your current thoughts may be, we encourage you to browse through the many music instruction videos that are readily available to you at Prodigies. Each unique lesson is colorful, creative and informative. Designed for different age and knowledge levels, each video program is tailored to spark children's imaginations while also expanding their minds.
With most of the learning at Prodigies taking place in the virtual realm, we definitely believe in the power of technology to bring us all together and help us to learn about music. We can even make music together thanks to technology.
Let Prodigies open up a world of musical possibilities to your family. Get started today so that your children can enjoy all of the benefits of early music education.