Online Cello Lessons
Now—more than ever—students need quality music education, an outlet for fun, a sense of connection with the outside world, and a friendly, familiar face in uncertain times
Due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the quarantine, I have completely transitioned to teaching virtual cello lessons.
I continue to offer live lessons over FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom. I have generated supportive, cello-related content for students through the tools available on the web.
I still believe that the most ideal lesson environment is one where I can physically be in the same room with the student and parent. Having in-person lessons gives me the greatest ability to observe a students’ strengths and areas of improvement regarding pitch, intonation, tone, technique, and posture. With in-person lessons, I can see and hear everything and I am best equipped to provide effective instruction. However, this is not an option while we are sheltering in place and it is uncertain as to how long we will need to continue limiting our activities to mitigate the spread of the virus. By offering online cello lessons, I hope to continue providing quality music education, a fun activity, a sense of community, and a friendly face during uncertain times. When social distancing recommendations and it is safe to do so, I hope to return to teaching lessons at my home-studio.
By offering online cello lessons, I hope to continue providing quality music education, a fun activity, a sense of community, and a friendly face during uncertain times.
Teacher, student, parent roles
Educators, students, and parents have had to quickly adapt to using web-based platforms to deliver instruction and assess student performance. Parents have a more active role (and more responsibilities) and some students may be more self-directed in their learning. Opportunities and challenges abound!
In switching to online cello lessons, I continue assuming all instructional tasks even though the learning experience takes place in the students’ home via a screen. Students meet with me via FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom for the full length of the lesson. Parents are more than welcome to be present for the lesson (and sometimes it is helpful) but it is not necessary for most learners. If there are any questions about practice assignments, I can easily be contacted by phone or email. The student's job is to learn in the lesson and follow lesson assignments in daily practice. The parent's job is to support by providing encouragement, a good practice environment, and help the student be accountable to their commitment to practice thoughtfully each day.
What you can expect from online lessons
These elements can be expected from both virtual and in-person lessons:
Regular, consistent lesson time each week
Weekly lesson assignments (communicated by email or Google Classroom)
Individualized curriculum adjusted for each students goals, needs, and talents
What's new with online lessons:
I have become a writer for my students
I am producing content to support student learning and keep things fresh and interesting at home! Check out my blog for links to resources, tips and tricks for practice strategies, something to make you laugh every now and then, and more!
Virtual group class
Now more than ever, I feel it’s important for students to interact with their peers and have the chance to learn from each other and support each other! I’m using the virtual conference platform, Zoom, to provide this experience to my students.
Student audio/video recordings
I have students record a sample of their practice time and send it to me so that I can hear high-quality audio of their playing. Most phone and conferencing apps are well-suited to transmitting the sounds of voices and language but they lose a great deal of quality when capturing the sounds of musical instruments. An audio or video recording will do a much better job of capturing the nuances of a performer’s intonation, tone, articulation, and other details. This enables me to provide more targeted correction and guidance during lessons. The process of recording one’s own playing can also be helpful in a student's practice time as it gives them a chance to observe their own performance with their full attention. Recordings can be made with smartphones, tablets, or other common electronic devices. No special equipment is needed!
Trying new things
I am committed to the success of all my students and I am constantly thinking about how to help them reach their potential and fall in love with playing the cello. The shelter-in-place directive means I am in very new territory as an educator and musician. It requires me to put extra thought and preparation into my lesson plans but I am eager to rise to the occasion and devise new ways to keep music education fun, effective, and enriching.
The cello is one of the most beloved and accessible instruments in music. People are drawn to its deep resonant sounds and it has been said (though not confirmed) that cello music is so popular because the pitch range is similar to that of the human voice!
Learning to play any instrument can be one of the most gratifying experiences and it is one that you can enjoy for your whole life.
So what does it take to learn to play cello?
Basically, you need the right attitude and time to play.
Who can take cello lessons?
Anyone can take cello lessons! Both children and adults make excellent cello students. You do not need to be innately “talented” to enjoy this amazing instrument. You just need the desire to learn and the time to practice each day.