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How to prepare for the First Online Live Lesson

This page will guide you on how to enjoy the most of your Live Online Personalized Lesson, including the very first one.
 

What do you need?

A Piano

The better the instrument you have, the faster will be your musical development. However, wait to have a grand piano at your disposal won’t help you. Start with what you have – even if it is just a simple keyboard – keep an eye on opportunities that may show up in the way.

If you already have an acoustic piano (IDEAL), remember to have it tuned at least once a year and mechanically revised accordingly to your technician guidance, or at least once every 5 years.

Stable Internet connection

You may have a Fiber, ADSL, Cable, Radio, 3G/4G, Satelite connection. Just be sure it is stable and with a low latency response (delay). To assure your internet connection will be enough for your lessons, google internet test. Use any service available in your location (we usually test through speedtest.net). This test must be done from the exact point from which you’ll have your lesson.

Internet Gigabit
At PianoClass, we usually have a 2ms ping (delay) + 900Mbps download + 200Mbps upload. If you have a ping lower than 50ms + a download higher than 5Mbps + and upload higher than 1Mbps, your internet connection will be ready for your lesson. Those are the minimum requirements, considering a very stable internet, without fluctuations caused by network overloading or old internet service provider’s equipment.

How you connect to your modem is also very important. The IDEAL is a cable connected directly to your modem. But you need to use your Wifi, be sure to have a clear of solid objects (walls, furniture, and even glass) path until your modem. Remember that the signal travels in straight lines and loosed power each time it passes through a solid object.

Computador/tablet/smartphone

You will need a device to connect with the internet, capture your image and sound and receive ours.

Here are a few suggestions to set up your piano studio:

Computador (IDEAL)

  • with built-in or external webcam – and you can use more than one
  • built-in or external microphone – if you use an external one we suggest the Blue Yeti®

Tablet/Smartphone

  • with frontal camera
  • microphone

Headphones or Earbuds

This is an essential feature to optimize lesson fluency. It avoids annoying echos and assures simultaneous talk, without interrupting each other. Avoid any model that blocks the external sound and just use Bluetooth models connected to your computer and never to your tablet or smartphone. You may use a wired headphone. In this case, we suggest the use of an extensor to have enough movement freedom.

Platforms

Here are the platforms you may use to have your lessons. It is preferred to have at least two of them ready to be used. Unpredicted events may affect which one will work better on certain days and situations.

VSee

This is our official lesson platform, as it:

  • allows the use of multiple cameras
  • has the best sound quality when capturing piano sound
  • alwous conference call (you may use other devices as extra cameras or external mic)
  • works on PC, Mac, tablet, and smartphone

Skype

  • allows just one camera
  • great sound quality when capturing piano sound
  • allows conference call (you may use other devices as extra cameras or external mic)
  • works on PC, Mac, tablet, and smartphone

FaceTime

  • allows just one camera
  • good sound quality when capturing piano sound
  • works only with Apple devices

YouTube Live

  • allows just one camera
  • has a specific configuration for instrumental streaming
  • allows conference call (you may use other devices as extra cameras or external mic)
  • the lesson is automatically recorded and available on YouTube – we always set it as private
  • works on PC, Mac, tablet, and smartphone

Other Platforms

We know there are many other platforms available, but on those the sound quality is not that good. But if there is an emergency, we do have Appear.in, HangOut, WhatsApp, Zoom, and Discord ready to go.

Sheet music and notes

It is essential that you have access to all the material offered by your teacher in and out of your lesson.

via Tablet

If you choose to use a tablet to access your sheet music, you’ll be able to see your teacher’s notes and comments while in the lesson each time those are saved.
The same works for the teacher, who will be able to check your notes at the beginning of your lesson.
Install and set up the Dropbox, Dropbox Paper and a pdf editor (PDF Expert, Adobe Acrobat, …) app before your lesson.

Paper and Pencil

If you prefer a more traditional way, keep your printed material always in hand. Be sure to have a pencil and an eraser always close to the piano.
It is useful to have easy access to a printer, in case your teacher asks you to print some new material.

 

How to set up your lesson?

It is pretty simple. You just need to consider a few details:

Camera position

Place your main camera at the side of your piano, in a way you can see from your face to the upper part of your bench. It should be high enough to have all the keyboard, your arms’ and hand’s movements, your back, and your neck visible.

If you have more than one camera, you may place one at the side of the piano to show some details of your hands, or have it high over the keyboard.

Screen place

You may have it where you find it more comfortable, which is usually in front of you. It is ok if you are not looking at the camera, which will happen in case the screen doesn’t have a camera with it.

Microphone position

If you have an external mic, make some tests to place it so it acquires a balanced sound from the piano and your voice. It must catch well the piano sound, but not that much that it blows of the mic, causing noises to the sound sent to your teacher.

Ligtning

Use as much light as possible! A room well-lit room assures a much better image, independently from the camera you are using.

 

Useful tips

  • Plug your computer in and charge your devices through the night before your lesson
  • If you are using wireless headphones, charge them the night before your lesson
  • Be sure to have access to your Dropbox and Dropbox Paper
  • Always have a way to take notes during the lesson
  • You are automatically authorized to record your own personalized lesson to revise it whenever you want.
  • Be sure there is no one or anything else using your local internet during your lesson (Yes, a family member watching Netflix does count.)