In the past two years, music education has been turned upside down when, from one day to the next, classes had to be given online. After returning to face-to-face teaching, many teachers ask themselves whether it is still worth investing in online music lessons. My opinion: Yes, very! Find out why I think so in this blog post.
General advantages of digital learning
Let me tell you about the benefits of digital learning. The good thing is, not only do you benefit, but so do your students and, ultimately, the environment!
Build your own business
Teaching music and sharing the joy of music is beautiful and important for the individual’s personal development. In addition, teaching offers a steady source of income for musicians, regardless of concert engagements or part-time employment. Teaching a certain number of students on a regular basis provides a stable financial basis. Musicians in particular who play many live gigs a year know: If the agency doesn’t renew, the frontman drops out, or the gigs just stay away, you’re still covered.
Online music lessons are an additional offer that teachers and students can benefit from. Musicians no longer have to choose between concert tours or teaching. Online lessons allow teachers to offer continuous lessons and be on stage at the same time. This means double income, even when on tour.
Attracting new students with online music lessons
Online music lessons eliminate the need for students to travel long distances, which can be especially beneficial for adult students. In rural areas with poor transportation, new students can take music lessons. In addition, adult students can connect to classes after work without time constraints.
Matthias, for example, is 67 years old. He lives in Norway. He can’t take bass lessons in his region because there aren’t any on offer. The closest music school is hard to reach, even by car. That’s why he specifically looked for online music lessons, and thus found his teacher. None other than doozzoo founder Thomas Gier. Many people feel the same way as Matthias.
Online music education allows students to network in new ways and offers new educational opportunities. Teachers can attract new students with their expanded offerings. On social media platforms, in forums, via classifieds or offer sites like Fiverr, you can get in touch with potential new students in groups, with hashtags and your own content with minimal costs. Our tip: An introduction video, concert clips or short tutorials round off your profile and are ideal for offering your online music lessons.
Online music lessons with professional teachers from around the world
Master class in America? Participate in workshops and training courses throughout Europe? Many institutions now offer online seminars, which is extremely valuable for your own continuing education.
Without additional travel costs and time, we teachers can continue our education, exchange ideas with colleagues and learn new things. On the other hand, this also offers the possibility to offer online seminars for groups of students or for teachers. Many renowned musicians regularly offer workshops, master classes or individual lessons online, which would have been unimaginable a few years ago. This learning opportunity is not to be missed. It has never been so easy and affordable to get new input.
For example, I was able to take part in online training courses offered by the Benedetti Foundation, which is based in England. The violinist Nicola Benedetti, with her “Benedetti Foundation” and a large team of teachers, facilitated numerous workshops for students and adults during the lockdown. It is impressive to see how many young musicians participated and what is possible with online music lessons.
Keeping up with the times
We live in an age in which digitality is becoming increasingly important in many areas and is making many things manageable. This is also happening in education. It is not only important for younger teachers to keep up with the times, explore new possibilities and discover new ways of teaching. To continue to keep up with the younger generation, we should not resist this change. Rather, we need to take advantage of the new opportunities. Technical challenges should not scare us away. We don’t have to understand and be able to do everything immediately. It is much more important to remain open and curious, to try things out and learn step by step, just as we teach our students on the instrument every day.
Time and cost savings
Teach nationwide, no travel, no rental costs for classrooms. Online music lessons offer obvious advantages to saving time and money. Since many musicians teach only part-time, even if they have a permanent position, online teaching is an easy way to expand the teaching load. And it can be flexibly adapted to one’s own daily schedule.
The most obvious advantage is area and time flexibility. You can teach from anywhere and set your own time rules.
This is especially interesting for teachers who tour a lot or are on concert tours. The lessons can still take place, no matter where. But also, students remain more flexible. If lessons have to be postponed, this is usually less complicated. A win-win situation for both sides.
A hybrid form of teaching, i.e., alternating between face-to-face and online teaching, also offers flexibility. For example, if a student has a cold, the lesson does not have to be canceled immediately! Some students may not want to miss 100% of face-to-face classes. In this case, you can alternate online and face-to-face sessions. This way, you can combine all the important advantages of each form of teaching. Some of my colleagues already do this and report very good experiences.
Pedagogical advantages of online music lessons
Of course, online music lessons also mean a certain didactic change. For example, we must reflect on the core of an exercise and possibly rethink it. However, there are also some advantages that I would like to highlight.
Get to know the students in their practice environment/home
It is exciting and pedagogically very helpful to experience students in their environment. Distractions during practice and disruptive factors can be identified and corrected. Teachers can then give more focused tips for practicing and provide assistance for an optimal practice location. Finally, distractions can be addressed in class, and solutions can be sought together.
Another advantage is especially for instruments like percussion or piano. Teachers can get to know the setup and quality of the instrument better. Experiencing my students in their environment through online music lessons has given me many valuable insights, which in part has allowed me to give them better support and tips for practicing at home.
Downloadable Lesson Plans – All in One Place
A great advantage of online music lessons is the possibility of having all the lesson material in one place. This allows students to access it outside of class time. This is not possible with every program. But with doozzoo it is!
With the media library, doozzoo offers teachers the option to upload sheet music, playalongs, previously recorded correpetition and other files and make them available to students. This way, everything can be stored in the digital space and is always and everywhere accessible thanks to the cloud. It can be a great help, especially for students who teach at different schools, if they don’t have to carry all their sheet music with them everywhere they go.
Of course, there are also challenges in online music teaching. But with a little rethinking, there are suitable solutions here, too. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Potential challenges for students:
- It is more difficult for students to socialize with each other online. In order to create acquaintances within the class, a common date for all students can be organized on a regular basis. My suggestion: Organize group lessons and/or workshops with students on a specific topic on a regular basis, depending on the level of education.
- Zoom fatigue. My advice: Always include movement games and enough breaks in the schedule for teachers and students.
- Lack of physical activity for students due to a lot of screen time. For young students in particular, sport is an important balance to school and learning an instrument. This should also be discussed with parents.
- Internet connection. The most obvious problem is certainly poor Internet access, and that still affects over 40% of the world’s population. In this context, we are not even talking about high-speed Internet, sufficient data volume or connection problems. Unfortunately, doozzoo does not yet have the perfect solution for this, but we can assure you that when the connection is poor, it is always the picture quality that suffers first and not the audio quality when teaching with doozzoo.
- Distraction. There’s a lot more to discover on the Internet than just the learning materials you want. In addition, you are usually online at the same time on your messenger and mail account. In addition, partners, roommates and, most of all, children like to disturb and make noise at home. It takes planning and discipline to stay focused in such an environment. My suggestion: Close all other tabs and programs and set the cell phone to silent or flight mode, just like when you’re practicing.
- Make music together. Unfortunately, synchronous playing is not yet possible online. But with playalongs and the metronome, even beginners can learn to play to the music. The professor for Latin percussion, José J. Cortijo, has written a fantastic blog article with helpful tips. Click here to read it.
Online music education creates new opportunities for both students and teachers. However, it is still worth investing in online music education. As musicians, we benefit from sharing our knowledge digitally and creating new learning opportunities. Digital tools are constantly evolving, improving, and opening up new avenues for music education. It’s a shared exploration and trial and error. I want to encourage you to seek exchanges with other teachers. The doozzoo team will of course support you in teaching online. We look forward to hearing about your experiences!
About the author
Aloisia Dauer is a violinist, teacher at the Musikschule Grünwald e.V., violin consultant for the Bavarian Sing- und Musikschulen and founder of Your Music Mind. She completed her education with excellence at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg with Prof. Igor Ozim and Prof. Harald Herzl, where she was already accepted as a young student. Her great passion is chamber music. She performs with renowned artists at international festivals and concerts. In addition to her concert activities, she teaches her violin class and as a lecturer at international master classes. She also works with educational companies such as doozzoo by C. Bechstein, Ernani GmbH and with music publishers. In 2019, she received an award from BR-Klassik as “Bavaria’s most popular music teacher”.
Your Music Mind was created with the desire to create a platform around the topic of practising, with learning guides such as the practising diary, blog, videos, interviews with musicians and workshops, in order to give music students and parents practical practising strategies for practising at home and to support them in their learning. So that students enjoy making music and practising!