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#1177596 - 04/09/09 10:16 PM Equipment for Streaming Lessons?
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5573
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
I know we've had some good threads posted about recording your piano.

This time however, I'm interested in what equipment one would need to stream between a student and a teacher in different locations.

I've had a couple of pianist/teachers ask about doing this. They happen to be at the level of teaching master classes, but I don't think that is relevant.

The thought is to use Skype, but the question remains...
What basic equipment would be needed to stream (live) video and audio of an acoustic piano, between the student and teacher?

Keeping in mind the quality needs to be fairly good or it won't work.

Ok all you experts, feel free to chime in now :-)
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#1177610 - 04/09/09 10:43 PM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: Piano World]
EP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/06
Posts: 374
Loc: USA
Not claiming to be an expert, but I took some lessons via Skype about 2 years ago.
The only equipment the teacher used was a webcam with a built-in mic, and a laptop sitting on top of the piano, with earbuds. I had a similar setup but was using a digital piano and a microphone hooked into a mixer going to the sound card input of my desktop computer, and a regular set of headphones.
We each had a DSL internet connection.
Personally, I thought it was marginally acceptable, as the sound was a bit jumpy and the video would occasionally break up. Plus, there was a little latency, so trying to play at the same time (i.e. duets) didn't work.
Not being an expert, I don't know what the problem was, but maybe others have had better luck.

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#1180605 - 04/15/09 01:26 AM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: EP]
trigalg693 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/08
Posts: 609
Not sure if this is actually useful information, but some international competitions use Yamaha's player piano system to do auditions, and I think I read somewhere that the MTNA also had some kind of lesson with those, over the internet.

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#1421219 - 04/21/10 10:44 AM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: trigalg693]
PianoTouch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 18
Loc: Australia and France
Hi all,

I hope to shed some light on this for you.

Firstly, regarding the latency or delay, there is little you can do to avoid this.

This is due to thje digital processing of the data (sound and video) over the DSL network, satelights, etc.

You will notice that when you see a news report of a foreign correspondent being asked a question, there is still a delay, as the reciver is still listening to the question being asked after it has been asked. That doers make sense, if you read it slowly.

Anyway, to help a little, the skype idea is not too bad, particularly if your DSL connection is good, and your computer has a little 'grunt' and is not ten years old.

However, one imp[rovement is the microphone, that will make all the difference.

The best one to use (and no, I do not sell microphones) is the Audio technica USB 2020, as it hs a large diaphragm, and is available as a USB mic that plugs directly into your computer, and will massively improve the sound qulity of the pianio over the internet.

Ihave searched the net, and they are available from http://www.hostingsuccess.com/audiocreation Again, I am not a retailer, but have found that this website explains the use of audio recording on your computer very well.


I have found that skype is also getting much better and more clear, and responsive in transmitting the sound and video with little or no drop out, as long as you have a good laptop and internet connection.

I would be interested if you can lert me know if you have a much better success rate taking this action. I have certainly seen a massive improvement when working this way.
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#1462360 - 06/24/10 01:15 PM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: PianoTouch]
David Sprunger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/07
Posts: 162
Loc: Oregon, USA
Hi Frank - I think this question will become more relevant as time goes by and live lessons become a mainstay. My son is actually setting up a system to do this and has been giving me the "lowdown". I'll keep you all posted as he tweaks the equipment.

One bit that I found out is that on my Mac, Skype is appreciably clearer. I was connecting video to video from Oregon to Texas, and it almost looked like broadcast quality. Really way better than Skype on my PC (and I'm not a "mac only" cult guy either smile
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#1520116 - 09/21/10 09:41 PM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: Piano World]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Just a quick note to Skype users out there.
I have Skype set to automatically install updates, but yesterday, realised it has not been doing so.

I did a quick manual 'Check for updates' and found that a newer version was available.ver. 4.2.0.187 ( you can check your version, under the 'Help' tab > 'About Skype')
I contacted a couple of Skype contacts, and they also found that automatic updates were not being installed.
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#1537748 - 10/18/10 03:16 AM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: Piano World]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
Another important update:
Skype ver. 5.0.0.152 now available.

This version supports group (conference) calls.

(all users must have this version, to use this feature)
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#1579321 - 12/18/10 09:07 AM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: PianoTouch]
music32 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 1188
Loc: Berkeley, California
I'm definitely curious about this mode of communication for lesson transmission, but I feel a bit dubious about it for the following reasons.

For nuances of tone production, I can't imagine that Skyping can allow the teacher to communicate these properly.

MP3s, for example, certainly don't deliver as well as "live" performances, so hooking up a video camera, seems to be more in order for theory presentations, lectures, and the like. I guess if the teacher is not that fussy about sound, he/she might do a tutorial on a particular composition, but the back and forth of teaching just sounds so removed, and too technology driven to do justice to a teaching relationship.
And I respect the opinions of others in this matter.. and am willing to be convinced otherwise..

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#2111190 - 07/01/13 01:01 PM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: Piano World]
kamroon Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/28/13
Posts: 5
Loc: New York
Skype set to automatically install updates will be not so easy.I had tried this but unfortunately not more successful.
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#2112147 - 07/03/13 11:42 AM Re: Equipment for Streaming Lessons? [Re: Piano World]
UKIkarus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/05/13
Posts: 286
Loc: England, South East
I know this post was originally started 3 years ago sooo errrr consider me a nechrobumpist :S

Either way, although online lessons are plausible to one extent for basic teaching and discussion... the internet will never really be viable for real-time communications.

Yes digital processing adds a lot of latency to the mix, but on top of that are just plain simple physics... it takes the information X milliseconds to travel around the world between the relevant nodes even at the speed of light! it simply will not be fast enough to be used as a viable platform for real time communication/teaching/duetting unless we can somehow invent faster than light communications platforms. (any volunteers? :D)
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