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#2150790 - 09/15/13 08:45 PM Webcam Music lessons
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1062
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hello Teachers,

I am a Piano Technician who has given advanced piano tuning courses over the internet using my webcam. I was so pleased with the result that I began to search the internet for piano teachers who give piano lessons over the internet using their webcams.

Are they any of you out there? How do you advertise? Tell us more.

Would any of you be interested in a website that would market to students looking for webcam instruction and provide technical support to allow you to find and teach music over the internet?

I am currently developing a website to do just that. It would list profiles of teachers, their availability and their prices. Students would be able to browse teachers and select lesson times and pay for lessons. Students and teachers would then receive an email link near the lesson time, click it, and then be hooked up through their webcams.

Besides the obvious adbvantage of not having to travel and lose time in your car (if you currently travel to people's homes), there is also the added advantage that you will now be able to teach during virtually any hours of the day that you care to. Somewhere in the world, kids are getting out of school at exactly the same time that you want to teach.

I will be beta testing this service very soon. If you would like to take part in this and be listed on the website for free, please go to http://oncodi.launchrock.com to sign up.

Thanks very much and I am looking forward to reading all your stories of webcam teaching.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2152884 - 09/18/13 10:21 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
I think the fundamental problem for physical skill teaching on webcam is that you are unable to have physical interaction with your students.

And the webcam gives the students a feeling of "unprofessional" or "casual" because you are looking into a screen, just like a TV.

So yes the idea is good but it will take a long while for you to get serious students.

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#2153340 - 09/18/13 09:13 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1062
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Yes, there are some problems but there are also many pluses:

- Flexible teaching times
- Online music resources
- No travelling
- No transportation expenses
- No wasted travel time for no shows
- Convenience

And with a website that caters to online teachers:
- Free marketing
- Foreign currency handling
- Technical support

There are also other pitfalls (privacy, security, etc) that a good website would address.

Currently there is no website (that I could find) that has these functions. Takelessons.com is too vague. In fact, there is no link that shows they even offer this service. Search "online music lesson takelessons" on YouTube and you will see their video. I found it disturbing, especially when the teacher and the kid do this high five to the screen.

My vision is to portray the service for what it is; the best option for when in-person lessons are not convenient. People are not stupid. They are not going to think that lessons with a great, reasonably priced teacher who comes to your home, is not as good as an online webcam lesson.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2153633 - 09/19/13 10:09 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
I've been following this with interest in both forums. I have taught via the Net though since it involved music theory, Skype wasn't needed. But I have also worked with teachers as a student over Skype. There are pros and cons, as everyone says.

Taking the ideas presented one by one:
Registering with a site dedicated to Skype lessons so that students can find teachers:
I googled "piano lesson skype" and had 34,000 hits - 70% of the first page was by teachers advertising they do this, and the remain three were discussions of the idea. So if a teacher has a Web-site and uses keywords like "Skype lesson", they should be findable. Of course a well designed site might have SEO to bring it to the top of the list, thus making a teacher visible among these 30,000 people.

So Mark's site might bring you to the top of the list. I.e. marketing.

Next: the actual interaction bringing student and teacher together.

Quote:
Students would be able to browse teachers and select lesson times and pay for lessons. Students and teachers would then receive an email link near the lesson time, click it, and then be hooked up through their webcams.

I may be reading this wrong. The way I'm reading it, the student looks at the list of teachers and their (probably brief) descriptions. The teachers will have indicated free time slots, and the student chooses one of these. The teacher gets informed that he will be teaching a student on a given day and time. The student has made all the decisions. Is this a correct picture?

In first-time lessons, there has to be some dialogue between teacher and student to establish what the goals are. The teacher has to have a say on whether he wants to teach this student (compatible) and may also want the student to prepare a certain way before the first lesson. The idea of a student selecting a teacher and time like a pizza with toppings seems to be missing a step.

Quote:
and teachers would then receive an email link near the lesson time

How near the lesson time? Say the student has chosen a 5:00 time slot for Thursday, does the teacher get an e-mail at 3:00 Thursday - Thursday morning - or the day before (Wednesday)? If an hour before the chosen lesson time, what if he/she is teaching and not able to check e-mails?

If it is the way I imagine, then it is too automatic, and doesn't give the teacher much control.

I am familiar with similar kinds of systems in my work, and I stay away from them because the planning/consultation stage with a customer is missing which would compromise the quality of my work. It would also impact on my quality of life since I would lose control of my time. I accept work as it comes in, but I have some control over how I plan my time around it.

So my main thought is that the teacher offering the service has to have more control at the arranging stage. What do the teachers here think?

Next:
Quote:
(from site) or set-up complicated software.
(here)... click it, and then be hooked up through their webcams.
(here) .... - Technical support


I'm trying to picture this part better. In on-line "live" lessons, both I and my teacher must have the equipment (cameras with sound) and there is software belonging to our respective equipment which we have to deal with ourselves. In my case, the sound from my webcam was horrid, so I had to reconfigure it so that sound comes from a microphone, video comes from the camera. This had to be worked out internally.

With both teachers, there was a pre-lesson period where we just tried out the system. With the first, it was a learning period for me to get used to it. The situation with webcam and microphone had to be done trial and error, because I couldn't anticipate who poor the webcam's sound would come across. Other things that had to be worked out were camera angle so the teacher could see what s/he wanted to see, and an echo which turned out to be a matter of microphone placement.

For the actual connection, I've always used Skype and it is pretty straightforward. But Skype isn't the only system around. Do you use a different system? It sounds like you have set up something to be automatic so that the connection happens ... more instantly than what is usual at present where the teacher dials the student? Something superior to Skype, which does have its hangups?

Technical support: If something goes wrong during the call? Troubleshooting common problems? Solving such things as my camera-sound scenario? What is involved here.

Quote:
- Foreign currency handling

Are you acting as a kind of banking system? So you will get a teacher in Germany where the currency is Euros, and a student in Hong Kong, where the currency is HK dollars, and the payment goes through you and you turn that money into the correct currency and pass it on to the teacher? Is this what you mean?

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#2153637 - 09/19/13 10:17 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: keystring]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: keystring
So my main thought is that the teacher offering the service has to have more control at the arranging stage. What do the teachers here think?

I can't say I speak for other teachers, but I do think this webcam model undermines the authority of teachers.

As I mentioned previously about the feeling of "unprofessional" and "casual", plus the sole control students have in choosing teachers, will make a nightmare for the teachers.
Does the teach has any say of the student's choice? I think technically it can be done, just need a two-way confirmation mechanism and/or a paid preview lesson. Still it gives the students the feeling that they are picking groceries in supermarket.

Will you be ok with webcam tennis class? soccer class? No? Then why it's different from piano lessons?

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#2153666 - 09/19/13 11:01 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Australia
Keystring brings up a number of interesting questions.

Is this a Skype based model, or is a different software involved?

Personally, I would not accept any student 'sight unseen' who simply picked me out from a list of available teachers for a given time slot.

My Skype students find me through my website, and only book lessons, after at least a few emails back and forth, where I enquire about their current level/future goals etc., and they get to find out exactly what I am able to offer them.

Following on from that, we arrange a mutually convenient time to carry out a brief test call, to ensure that everything is working well at both ends.

Foreign currency is not a problem, as PayPal handles that.
For students in my own country, payment is generally by bank transfer.

I really don't see what the site you propose could do for me, over and above what I already have in place.
Would I be correct in assuming that your service would involve a subscription of some kind?
_________________________
Rob

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#2153680 - 09/19/13 11:11 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Jesus, just hire a good local piano teacher. There are ALWAYS tons of them. How can you POSSIBLY teach piano this way????????? Absolutely ridiculous!

You cannot think you can teach about sound and touch through webcam.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2153689 - 09/19/13 11:21 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Pogorelich.]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Australia
That's fine for those who live in areas where teachers are plentiful.

Some of my students live in isolated areas where there is no teacher within 100 miles. ( Australia is a large country).

One lived in the mountains of Japan, again, totally isolated.

Some people are housebound, and cannot get a teacher to come to them.

I have had some from the US who like to have lessons late in their evening, when it is my mid morning here.

One size doesn't fit all.
_________________________
Rob

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#2153776 - 09/19/13 01:12 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
I guess so. Although I do know people who travel that distance twice a month for lessons.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#2153850 - 09/19/13 02:53 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Pogorelich.]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3151
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Jesus, just hire a good local piano teacher. There are ALWAYS tons of them.


There are tons of local piano teachers.

There may not be tons of good ones.

What if a student had a choice between a mediocre or even poor local teacher, and a fantastic teacher on Skype?

And maybe your skype session can be streamed to your harddrive, and you can review it every day until the next lesson, each time picking up a few more things the teacher said that went past you in the heat of the moment?
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2154487 - 09/20/13 01:55 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: TimR]
Dfrankjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 126
Loc: NYC
Gradually over the last 2 years my jazz piano teaching practice has switched to about 70% skype. Teaching via skype is so fantastic it gives me chills. Every aspect of playing -touch, tone, improvisation, theory, et. al, can easily be conveyed and effectively taught via this medium. I worked with a nutty guy from New Dehli for one year, and then he came to NYC to visit. When he sat down to play, it was clear that he had come as far in that one year as anyone ever had come from live lessons.

There is an aspect of live interaction, naturally, that doesn't come over the computer (some of the folks are taller or smellier than I thought), but what is missed is minimal. I just got off a skype lesson with a great guy in Wales, explaining to him the construction of a certain type of esoteric jazz voicing. There is NO WAY this guy could learn this from a teacher anywhere near him. Ditto for delighted students in Malta, Saudi Arabia, Alaska, Denmark, Uraguay, Brazil, the Ukraine, and on and on. Some of these students have started a jazz teaching practice of their own in their countries, being the first to do so.

Skype teaching is so effective that half of my students in NYC now work with me via skype. I live on 52nd St., one guy on 34th St. insists on doing his lessons only on skype. Once they try it once, they are hooked.

I feel privileged to be living at this time and place where technology has made what we do for a living so communicative on a scale I never would have dreamed possible.

Dave Frank

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#2154494 - 09/20/13 02:02 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Pogorelich.]
Miguel Rey Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 284
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Jesus, just hire a good local piano teacher. There are ALWAYS tons of them. How can you POSSIBLY teach piano this way????????? Absolutely ridiculous!

You cannot think you can teach about sound and touch through webcam.


Wish it was that easy, but not all have "good local" piano teachers in their neck of the woods.
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2154986 - 09/21/13 11:58 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Australia
Mark, I am intrigued about the 'advanced piano tuning courses' you have given over the internet,
One of the biggest downsides I have experienced, is the occasional wavering of pitch in Skype lessons.

Do you transmit tones, or a visual image of some kind of digital tuning device?
_________________________
Rob

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#2155048 - 09/21/13 02:22 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Alan Lai]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1062
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: keystring
So my main thought is that the teacher offering the service has to have more control at the arranging stage. What do the teachers here think?

I can't say I speak for other teachers, but I do think this webcam model undermines the authority of teachers.

As I mentioned previously about the feeling of "unprofessional" and "casual", plus the sole control students have in choosing teachers, will make a nightmare for the teachers.
Does the teach has any say of the student's choice? I think technically it can be done, just need a two-way confirmation mechanism and/or a paid preview lesson. Still it gives the students the feeling that they are picking groceries in supermarket.

Will you be ok with webcam tennis class? soccer class? No? Then why it's different from piano lessons?


Hi Alan,

I apologize but I didn't understand the meaning of your post.

How is a teacher's authority undermined? Because a student will drop you if they don't like what you are saying? What would stop them from doing so if you were local? Teachers' authority is a much bigger issue, and local versus remote lessons is not a factor, IMHO.

Unprofessional and casual is a function of the organization and expectations of the teacher. How does local present a more organized impression with higher standards? BTW, why do you think casual is bad?

Does the teacher have any say in the student's choice? Why do you think a teacher should have a say in who a student chooses, unless they ask you? The only say you have is whether or not you want to teach them.

Tennis? Soccer? Isn't this comparing an independent performance activity with a team activity?


Edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT (09/21/13 02:22 PM)
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2155067 - 09/21/13 03:17 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: R0B]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1062
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: R0B
Mark, I am intrigued about the 'advanced piano tuning courses' you have given over the internet,
One of the biggest downsides I have experienced, is the occasional wavering of pitch in Skype lessons.

Do you transmit tones, or a visual image of some kind of digital tuning device?


Hi Rob,

I teach advanced aural tuning techniques for beginners. Students must be accomplished musicians to ensure a high level of success. I've been doing this for eight years and have developed a technique that is easy to learn and students (who are accomplished musicians) get fast results.

Notice I mention accomplished musicians twice. I mean musicians who have a varied background and make a living from many areas of performing music. In general, music teachers who just teach music, do not do well in the course because piano tuning demands a ductility of thinking that career music teachers who develop or follow a standard method, have not developed.

Typical musical skills that predict success in the courses, are:
Jazz improvisation
Orchestral composition and arranging
Computers and midi
Electronic music and synthesizer programming
Sound engineering
Luthier

Other beneficial skills:
Mechanical ability
Wood working
English

We don't use computers or Electronic Tuning Devices (ETDs) to determine proper pitch. I only teach aural tuning techniques. We do use ETDs to test our aural tunings, but the ETD will be on the student's side, although one on my side is appropriate for tersting unisons and stability.

Tests show a flattening of 7 cents from broadcaster to receiver in Google Hangout. An RPT exam would still give consistent results because the testing procedure (except for the initial A440) calculates an average offset and subtracts that from the actual pitch measurement. I.e. a perfect tuning, and a perfect tuning that is 7 cents flat across the board, would both score 100%.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2155480 - 09/22/13 11:09 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Australia
That was way more info than I asked for, but thanks Mark smile
_________________________
Rob

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#2155483 - 09/22/13 11:10 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: TimR]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Pogorelich.
Jesus, just hire a good local piano teacher. There are ALWAYS tons of them.


There are tons of local piano teachers.

There may not be tons of good ones.

What if a student had a choice between a mediocre or even poor local teacher, and a fantastic teacher on Skype?

And maybe your skype session can be streamed to your harddrive, and you can review it every day until the next lesson, each time picking up a few more things the teacher said that went past you in the heat of the moment?


No matter how fantastic the teacher is, teaching piano through Skype is and will always remains at a "group class lecturer" level.

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#2155534 - 09/22/13 01:07 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Alan Lai]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai


No matter how fantastic the teacher is, teaching piano through Skype is and will always remains at a "group class lecturer" level.

Alan, I've been enjoying your posts, and this is the first one that I have to disagree with, and here's why.

Teaching first of all is a thought-through activity. The teacher uses the things at his disposal: books, scores, an instrument, his knowledge, the student - and he decides what he will teach, and how he will teach it, using what he has available. A book, score, location, or equipment do not do the teaching. What you will do with what you have available will determine what kind of lesson it will be. An excellent and resourceful teacher can do a lot even in that medium.

Of course working with someone in person is preferable, especially for the physical side of teaching. But if a student cannot access any teacher, or cannot access that teacher, then the Internet can give possibilities.

When you write "group class lecturer", are you thinking of these generic prerecorded lessons that are found everywhere on the Net? Yes, these are addressed to a group, generic, so they are that.

I have also watched sample Skype lessons where a student plays, and the teacher says "no - this part over here would sound better this way", demonstrates, student copies, teacher says "yes, that's it" - or maybe demonstrates a better way physically to do some passage. I can't see this for beginners. But on the other hand, I think a lot of in-person lessons do go that way.

It is what you do with the tools you have available. There can be one-on-one where you work out something, teach something - the student works through whatever that is later in his or her own practising, and has the advantage of reviewing the lesson if it has also been recorded. (Again, some in-studio teachers now record lessons for students to review). The student can also create sound files, video clips that can be shared via a Youtube private setting - for either to see where the student is, for teacher feedback. Relevant music theory can be taught via written material, homework etc. using e-mail, Dropbox and similar. It can be quite DEEP, and nothing like a general lecture.

However, if I were looking for a teacher with whom to study via Skype, I probably would not go to a site featuring such teachers as a group, but rather find such teachers via how they present themselves otherwise.

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#2155535 - 09/22/13 01:13 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11556
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: keystring
So my main thought is that the teacher offering the service has to have more control at the arranging stage. What do the teachers here think?

I can't say I speak for other teachers, but I do think this webcam model undermines the authority of teachers.

As I mentioned previously about the feeling of "unprofessional" and "casual", plus the sole control students have in choosing teachers, will make a nightmare for the teachers.
Does the teach has any say of the student's choice? ....


Hi Alan,

I apologize but I didn't understand the meaning of your post.

How is a teacher's authority undermined? Because a student will drop you if they don't like what you are saying? ...

Mark, in your quote, my post is included.

The specific way that an imbalance has been created in your model, is that the student determines which teacher he will study with, and when, but the teacher does not determine whether he wants to work with that student. It is a longterm relationship, and in this relationship the teacher has to act as a guide, with the student following that guidance. Here the student is determining everything, and that can set up a relationship. Secondly, there is usually some kind of first dialogue where it is established what the student wants to learn, what the student's background is, what the teacher's goals and expectations are - and this sets up things before a lesson even starts. In Skype it's trickier: you want to get things going right off the bat, and have it go smoothly, because of the nature of the medium.

The teacher has to be able to set things up, and also determine whether he wants to take on that particular student.

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#2155536 - 09/22/13 01:13 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Alan Lai]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1438
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai

No matter how fantastic the teacher is, teaching piano through Skype is and will always remains at a "group class lecturer" level.


I shall pass those words of wisdom on to the twins I teach over Skype, who just last week, took first place, and a highly commended at their school eisteddfod smirk
_________________________
Rob

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#2155558 - 09/22/13 02:15 PM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Alan,

I have a son who is learning how to play the baroque flute. This is not the same as the piano of course, but it certainly shares a kinship (more so than soccer or tennis smile ).

His interest in the traverso was kindled by a chance meeting with a historical performance professor at a top conservatory. As a result, he decided to move from the modern flute to the earlier wooden instrument. We got a good quality baroque flute for him and then looked locally to find someone who could get him started on it. Face-to-face training does indeed have its advantages.

Unfortunately, we concluded that the relationship between him and this teacher was probably not going to go anywhere, at least not quickly. We approached the professor with the idea of Skype. She had not done that before, but was willing to give it a try. The slight delay makes duo playing impossible, and she cannot -- obviously -- physically reposition him for optimal fingering, tone, posture, you name it. That's the down side. The upside is that he gets training from one of the top people in the US.

I think you can guess where I'm going. You have made a series of rather strong (and mostly un-argued) assertions.

Quote:
No matter how fantastic the teacher is, teaching piano through Skype is and will always remains at a "group class lecturer" level.


Quote:
And the webcam gives the students a feeling of "unprofessional" or "casual" because you are looking into a screen, just like a TV.

So yes the idea is good but it will take a long while for you to get serious students.



Categorical generalizations only require a single example as refutation.

You strongly dislike the approach. That seems quite clear. This is fine -- no one is under any obligation to use distance teaching. And there are indeed drawbacks to this form of instruction. But I think some of your strongest feelings seem quite personal to you. They are not generally true of the medium or generally true for all teachers who try to use it.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2155914 - 09/23/13 01:33 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Piano*Dad]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Alan,

I have a son who is learning how to play the baroque flute. This is not the same as the piano of course, but it certainly shares a kinship (more so than soccer or tennis smile ).

His interest in the traverso was kindled by a chance meeting with a historical performance professor at a top conservatory. As a result, he decided to move from the modern flute to the earlier wooden instrument. We got a good quality baroque flute for him and then looked locally to find someone who could get him started on it. Face-to-face training does indeed have its advantages.

Unfortunately, we concluded that the relationship between him and this teacher was probably not going to go anywhere, at least not quickly. We approached the professor with the idea of Skype. She had not done that before, but was willing to give it a try. The slight delay makes duo playing impossible, and she cannot -- obviously -- physically reposition him for optimal fingering, tone, posture, you name it. That's the down side. The upside is that he gets training from one of the top people in the US.

I think you can guess where I'm going. You have made a series of rather strong (and mostly un-argued) assertions.

Quote:
No matter how fantastic the teacher is, teaching piano through Skype is and will always remains at a "group class lecturer" level.


Quote:
And the webcam gives the students a feeling of "unprofessional" or "casual" because you are looking into a screen, just like a TV.

So yes the idea is good but it will take a long while for you to get serious students.



Categorical generalizations only require a single example as refutation.

You strongly dislike the approach. That seems quite clear. This is fine -- no one is under any obligation to use distance teaching. And there are indeed drawbacks to this form of instruction. But I think some of your strongest feelings seem quite personal to you. They are not generally true of the medium or generally true for all teachers who try to use it.


I speak from my personal experience, and yes I taught through Skype before.

And for baroque flute, I am in no intention to "look down" at this particular instrument, the fact is, the physical skill required to perform this instrument is comparatively lower than piano. Also it has a limited amount of repertoire compared to piano.

So by comparing teaching baroque flute and teaching piano is frankly comparing apple vs. oranges.

Your another point is that it is difficult to find good teachers for baroque flute locally, which is very true since it is not a popular instrument. But the situation is different from piano. You can for sure find adequate piano teachers in every town.

I think it is quite clear why baroque flute teaching through Skype is relatively more doable than piano.

Do you know anyone teaching Rakhmaninov's 2nd piano concerto through Skype? Liszt Sonata through Skype? Mussorgsky's picture at an Exhibition through Skype? No? This is what I meant with "remains at a 'group class lecturer' level."

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#2155919 - 09/23/13 01:46 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: keystring]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai


No matter how fantastic the teacher is, teaching piano through Skype is and will always remains at a "group class lecturer" level.

Alan, I've been enjoying your posts, and this is the first one that I have to disagree with, and here's why.

Teaching first of all is a thought-through activity. The teacher uses the things at his disposal: books, scores, an instrument, his knowledge, the student - and he decides what he will teach, and how he will teach it, using what he has available. A book, score, location, or equipment do not do the teaching. What you will do with what you have available will determine what kind of lesson it will be. An excellent and resourceful teacher can do a lot even in that medium.

Of course working with someone in person is preferable, especially for the physical side of teaching. But if a student cannot access any teacher, or cannot access that teacher, then the Internet can give possibilities.

When you write "group class lecturer", are you thinking of these generic prerecorded lessons that are found everywhere on the Net? Yes, these are addressed to a group, generic, so they are that.

I have also watched sample Skype lessons where a student plays, and the teacher says "no - this part over here would sound better this way", demonstrates, student copies, teacher says "yes, that's it" - or maybe demonstrates a better way physically to do some passage. I can't see this for beginners. But on the other hand, I think a lot of in-person lessons do go that way.

It is what you do with the tools you have available. There can be one-on-one where you work out something, teach something - the student works through whatever that is later in his or her own practising, and has the advantage of reviewing the lesson if it has also been recorded. (Again, some in-studio teachers now record lessons for students to review). The student can also create sound files, video clips that can be shared via a Youtube private setting - for either to see where the student is, for teacher feedback. Relevant music theory can be taught via written material, homework etc. using e-mail, Dropbox and similar. It can be quite DEEP, and nothing like a general lecture.

However, if I were looking for a teacher with whom to study via Skype, I probably would not go to a site featuring such teachers as a group, but rather find such teachers via how they present themselves otherwise.

Thanks for the long reply.

Let me try to speak from my experience.

Teacher has to use all tools at his/her disposal, very true. With Skype, your tools are limited. Your tone depends on the quality of your microphone, the speed of your internet connection, and the quality of speakers at your student's house. Your articulation depends on the same set of technological limitations. Your posture/body language is limited by the lens of your webcam, also the speed of your internet connection. Your dynamics/phrasing are limited. If you want to have some physical interaction with your student, say make him/her feel the weight dropping of the arm, firm finger tip and first joint, is out of the question.

So, what you really have with Skype? Language and (hopefully) a good connection for both you and your student.

Of course there are professionally setup recording studios just for this purpose.

For another poster I replied regarding the baroque flute, does that professor of baroque flute gained his reputation by teaching Skype lessons? Or because he's famous through traditional teaching, therefore people want to Skype with him?

Again, I would like to ask you the same question. Do you see anyone teaching Rakhmaninv's 2nd piano concerto, Liszt Sonata, or Mussorgsky's Picture at an Exhibition through Skype?

I understand this Skype teaching is very very tempting. Just like any other new technology or new iPhone released. I keep reading these webcam lessons threads once in a while. And of course it is certainly doable. But thinking this can get serious and professional is...not very likely.


Edited by Alan Lai (09/23/13 01:54 AM)

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#2155932 - 09/23/13 02:21 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5210
Loc: Europe
I'll be honest that I do a lot of skype teaching, for composition, though and not piano. The reason is simple: My students come from all over the world: Texas, NYC, Australia, England... you name it!

So there's no other way around it.

And I'm very happy for the results and so are my students, as far as I can tell!

Of course composition is hugely different than piano, but I will admit that I would largely prefer to have the students face to face. It's simply a different thing all together!

In any case this is what we have and this is what we get and this is what we give!
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2155939 - 09/23/13 02:41 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Nikolas]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I'll be honest that I do a lot of skype teaching, for composition, though and not piano. The reason is simple: My students come from all over the world: Texas, NYC, Australia, England... you name it!

So there's no other way around it.

And I'm very happy for the results and so are my students, as far as I can tell!

Of course composition is hugely different than piano, but I will admit that I would largely prefer to have the students face to face. It's simply a different thing all together!

In any case this is what we have and this is what we get and this is what we give!

Indeed, and I've seen plenty of music theory lessons, too.

P.S. I'm sure in the future when Digital Pianos can be connected peer-to-peer through internet, i.e. what you play can transfer through internet to your student's digital, as if you are playing yourself, we will see another wave of "Internet P2P piano lessons" threads. laugh


Edited by Alan Lai (09/23/13 02:43 AM)

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#2156022 - 09/23/13 08:25 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
And for baroque flute, I am in no intention to "look down" at this particular instrument, the fact is, the physical skill required to perform this instrument is comparatively lower than piano. Also it has a limited amount of repertoire compared to piano.


This statement reveals real ignorance, outside of your experience. It also reinforces your tendency to assert things. The physical skill requirements are different, but no less. No pianist has ever had to contemplate the relationship between which one of a dozen fingering choices for a particular note will produce the best tone for that note within a particular passage, each choice changing the pitch a bit. (Same for horn, BTW) And when last I checked, pianists didn't have to worry about being 20 cents flat or sharp every time they push down a key. [In piano, to "blow" a note has a rather different meaning … smile ]. This is getting into that hoary and rather silly topic about which instrument is "the hardest to play." Suffice to say, Skype is clearly a second best way to learn in comparison to face-to-face, but in many circumstance it can be better, given limited alternatives.

The size of the repertoire is unrelated to the physical skill demands. And the size of that repertoire, within its time period is quite large.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2156025 - 09/23/13 08:37 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Piano*Dad]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Quote:
And for baroque flute, I am in no intention to "look down" at this particular instrument, the fact is, the physical skill required to perform this instrument is comparatively lower than piano. Also it has a limited amount of repertoire compared to piano.


This statement reveals real ignorance, outside of your experience. It also reinforces your tendency to assert things. The physical skill requirements are different, but no less. No pianist has ever had to contemplate the relationship between which one of a dozen fingering choice for a particular note will produce the best tone for that note within a particular passage. And when last I checked, pianists didn't have to worry about being 20 cents flat or sharp every time they push down a key. This is getting into that hoary and rather silly topic about which instrument is "the hardest to play."

The size of the repertoire is unrelated to the physical skill demands. And the size of that repertoire, within its time period is quite large.

You share the same tendency to assert things when you call another people on internet you barely know ignorant.

With your reasoning, your previous post also reveals your real ignorance regarding piano.

See how quickly this discussion is getting boring?

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#2156027 - 09/23/13 08:39 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Hey, I'll bet $ to doughnuts my experience on the piano is quite a bit more hefty than yours on flute … smile

SRSLY.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#2156028 - 09/23/13 08:41 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Piano*Dad]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Hey, I'll bet $ to doughnuts my experience on the piano is quite a bit more hefty than yours on flute … smile

SRSLY.

OK, what does this achieve?

P.S. I was the principal flautist in my school orchestra. You know, Asians want people to learn 2 instruments and piano does not count. smile

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#2156062 - 09/23/13 09:54 AM Re: Webcam Music lessons [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Alan,

If you read what I have said about Skype, you will see that I have made no claims for its superiority, other things equal. But other things are often not equal, so its disadvantages can sometimes be more than offset by its virtues. What I have reacted to in your writing is the tendency toward glib, and frankly demeaning one-liners, that essentially tell other people (R0B, for instance) that they must be offering something that doesn't rise above crappy group-quality lessons, or that their work seems casual and unprofessional. You did feel the need, later on, to qualify the "group lesson" comment by talking about Rachmaninov piano concertos not being taught via Skype, though I have no idea whether or not that .... assertion, is true.

You did not like my assertion of your ignorance.

Quote:
You share the same tendency to assert things when you call another people on internet you barely know ignorant.


I suspect several people in this thread on the Internet, people who "you barely know" may have also found your dismissal of them rather annoying.

BTW, the baroque flute is a lot harder than the silver flute. grin
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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