I’ve taught online lessons to several adults since 2015, and was surprised how well it worked. In fact, when I asked them all recently they told me they prefer having their lessons online. When the lockdown started last year I, and every other teacher, found myself having to teach every lesson online. I wasn’t too concerned about this from my point of view, but my pupils (many of them young children) had to quickly adapt to this new way of working. Here are a few thoughts about the experience over the past year.
Teaching strategies don’t have to change
In my teaching, I demonstrate a lot and ask questions rather than simply telling my pupil what needs to be done; I’m sure most teachers would agree with that approach. This process can continue in an online lesson with ease. Younger children lose focus if I’m talking too much, so demonstration and call/response activities work very well.
The pupil will quickly become more independent
Younger and older pupils alike can tend to rely on the teacher to point to the correct place on the page, or show the correct position on the keyboard etc. This is slightly less straightforward during an online lesson. I’ve noticed all my pupils have become better at locating the correct note on the piano (often by ear) and finding specific bars on the page. Very young pupils (around age 5) may still have some difficulty when looking at the page, but this can be solved with parental support.
We cover more ground
I travel to most of my pupils for their lessons, and the first few minutes are usually taken up with chit chat while I take my coat off and get my notebook out etc. In an online lesson there is no need for this and we can usually start straight away and make better use of the lesson time. I don't know if the rest of my pupils prefer online lessons to seeing me in person, and I'm not sure I want to know the answer just yet, but I'm already convinced that this is an effective way to teach and learn an instrument.