Maintaining Your Practice: Tips for Teaching and Outreaching from a Distance

Tips for Teaching and Outreaching from a Distance

For the last month, people have had to adjust and readjust, holding onto any semblance of normalcy that they can. Many have also found themselves with more time on their hands, and are in need of new tasks and hobbies for themselves and/or their children. Fortunately, musicians and music teachers have a lot to offer for both of these groups of people, and technology allows for us to provide virtual musical instruction to current and new clients.

In an effort to serve our clients and provide some normalcy for them, we can continue weekly lessons. Most live chat services have a calendar function that can be shared with clients so they can be reminded of when lessons are coming up—and given the current circumstances with quarantine and self isolation, a lot of people understandably lose track of what day it is. This also helps us keep track of our own schedules. 

While teaching lessons virtually, here are a few helpful things to keep in mind:

Make the Most of Remote Music

Have a Visual

Perhaps the most important issue is making sure we have a visual on how our students are playing, to address issues with technique as well as any confusion they may be having. If necessary, ask parents to help their children set up the device on their end, so that you can see your students’ hands as they play. Additionally, set up your own device so that students can see your hands (whether on a keyboard or fretboard) while you play your instrument; this will ensure that your students can see the correct notes and technique. There are a number of different phone tripod stands available that can help us angle the cameras in our phones correctly.

Have the Same Music

We can also minimize the potential for error by looking at the same music as our students. This is so easy to overlook, but as teachers, we need to be sure that any criticism or encouragement we give is warranted and accurate. So, if you don’t already have a copy of a piece that your student is studying, you can have them or their parents email or text you a picture of the piece until you have your own copy, and follow along while they play/sing.

Be Prepared to Adjust

As you’ve likely already noticed, there is inevitably going to be a slight delay during virtual lessons, so if you normally like to play or sing along with your students (like I do), be prepared to make some adjustments. I’ll often play the musical section in question for my student, and then have the student play by him or herself while I listen and offer help when needed.

Practice Your Marketing

While the economy has definitely slowed down, musicians and music teachers are not at an absolute loss. This is an opportune season to work on marketing. Here are a few ideas:

Build Up Referrals

The best marketing strategy a music instructor has is the experience and success of his or her students. We can build clientele by offering free lessons to current students when they refer new students to us. Example: when a newly referred student has taken lessons for a month, give the referring student their free lesson.

Refine Your Own Craft

Use the extra time to practice more and further refine your own craft. This is also a good time to record videos and audio samples for social media or your own website. In essence, this is a way for us to expand our resumes for prospective students and/or contacts for future work. The more content we generate, the more opportunities there are for new students to discover us and inquire about our services.

I hope some of the points here are useful to you as you continue to serve your current clients and to build more clientele. Happy music making!

Kyle Graham

Kyle Graham is a skilled guitarist and instructor with a passion for music performance, and for helping others develop their love and understanding of music. Kyle’s pursuit of musical excellence directed him to The Master’s University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Music Theory and Composition. Kyle further studied composition with film composer Grant Fonda, as well as classical guitar with prominent guitarist Tavi Jinariu. Kyle is currently based in Santa Clarita, California and performs with Jazz, Rock, Classical, and Country groups in the greater Los Angeles area. These groups have opened for artists such as Hunter Hayes, CTA, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Spinners, and more.
Music has been a means for Kyle to travel to places including New York, Israel, France, Switzerland, Albania, and Croatia, performing in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Disney Concert Hall. Kyle currently performs and teaches full-time, offering lessons in Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Electric Bass, and Music Theory.

Get the best from SmartMusic

Discover practical music education tips, delivered directly to you!

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By viewing or browsing our site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More Information