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  • Advice for teaching on Zoom/Skype (All Teachers)

    Posted by Nina Green on January 11, 2021 at 9:36 pm


    I’m new to teaching online, so I would like any info that helps you teachers get good quality lessons across. I teach singing. Do you need to change any settings on zoom to teach? When a student is singing over a backing track will I be able to hear them? And will they be able to hear me.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    Nina 🙂

    Guest Teacher replied 3 years, 4 months ago 6 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • Josh Burke

    January 11, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Hi Nina,

    On the Zoom settings side of things, I always make sure to get students to disable the ‘Suppress intermittent background noise’ and another similar background noise setting that I can’t remember the name of right now. This should stop Zoom from cutting out any music students are playing/singing along to. I also get them to tick the checkbox which shows the option to ‘enable original sound’ or something like that, as this should stop all of Zoom’s audio processing, but has to be enabled at the start of each lesson. (Unfortunately these options aren’t available on tablets/phones, so while teaching students who are using these devices is possible, I’d recommend trying to ensure they use a computer whenever possible, and would also highly recommend that you use a computer to make sure your students get the best quality possible).

    On the backing track side of things, I take songs that students will be using and put a click track over the top, initially just to help students who weren’t so confident with keeping in time, but it has the added benefit of even when Zoom isn’t playing ball and the music is hard to hear, the click usually cuts through fine, so it’s easy for me to tell if students are in time. (If it wasn’t something you’d already thought of, I send the songs to students to playback on their end, eliminating any delay between either end of the call)

    Hope these ideas help you with figuring out your setup, and if you have any others I’m sure myself and many other teachers would love to hear them!

    • Nina Green

      January 14, 2021 at 2:04 pm

      Thank you!

  • Eliza Fyfe

    January 12, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Nina!

    So as Josh says, definitely disable (or set to “low” in the updated version of Zoom) for “Suppress persistent background noise” as this stops sound cutting out and allows a smoother overlap of conversation. Everything he says about enabling original sound is bang on, so I won’t repeat what he’s said!

    The only other setting you need to make sure is in place is your echo cancellation being set to “auto” – it’s the worst thing ever when you can hear yourself feeding back!!

    Finding these settings: settings cog in Zoom or by the arrow next to “mute” during a call. Then audio settings, then advanced for some of these settings we’ve mentioned, depending on what version of Zoom you’re running. The latest version has the echo cancellation setting in the advanced section.

    Hope that helps!

    Good luck!


    • Nina Green

      January 14, 2021 at 2:04 pm

      Thank you !

  • Matthew Rusk

    January 14, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks so much for the question @nina-green , I would love to recommend this great article that was shared with me as we moved into online teaching – written by a music teacher exploring the best set-ups for teaching online: https://www.ericheidbreder.com/single-post/the-best-services-and-settings-for-remote-music-lessons-with-step-by-step-instructions – I found it a really helpful resource 🙂

    Additionally, Joe Bradley – one of the drum teachers who is in this teacher community made an awesome video at the start of the fist lockdown that is a good watch:

    Hope they are both useful.

    @eliza-fyfe @josh-burke – have you taught any completely new studnets online so far or only current students?

    I would imagine it is much harder teaching completely new students compared to ones you have taught prior to lockdown, how have you found it? 🙂

    • Josh Burke

      January 15, 2021 at 7:17 pm

      Yes I have had two new students start, and both of them went pretty smoothly. They both had some experience with other instruments before though, so I’m sure that did help things. I’ve mainly just found myself getting a lot better at describing things – like ‘where to position your hand on a the guitar’ for a certain chord or something – so if anything, moving to online has probably helped me to become a better teacher!

      • Matthew Rusk

        January 15, 2021 at 11:04 pm

        That is cool to know and I so pleased to hear that those lessons went well with the new online starters. I think we have a lot to build on in 2021 based on all of the things we learned in 2020 🙂 I can certainly say I learned so much due to everything that has happened, hopefully the roll-out of the vacine will mean we can get back to in-person lessons sooner rather than later.

  • Emma Ward

    January 15, 2021 at 10:08 am

    I’d really recommend trying https://rockoutloud.live to teach from! I’ve found it a lot better than Zoom / any other online format plus it’s free.

    Still obviously not the same as in person 🙁 and still has it’s issues but I find it easier to pick up on dynamics & vocal tone etc compared to other apps.

    May be worth a shot 🙂 x

  • Guest Teacher

    February 24, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    Well, I use WhatsApp and FaceTime because I find the time delay annoying on other platforms. I also find using headphones better than speakers. I start with asking the student how they are always, before I give instructions. Lockdown has really worn out a lot of people though it had to be done.

    Once I give instructions, I ask what they want to do first…. Sometimes I have to use hand gestures. My camera is ALWAYS on. For children, the parents log on for them and we have a quick chat before the lesson. The most difficult for me is trying to count so the music can flow. That one is tricky because of time delay. One thing I will say is that students are always eager to chat with someone else on the other line, so that’s therapeutic.

    I hope this is helpful….

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