Teaching online lessons
Nancy W., Texas
How do you teach online? Is it private lessons or can you set up groups? How do you charge? I’ve got folks from another state, where I’m from, wishing I could teach them.
Rebecca G., Colorado
I’ve done both private and group lessons online, and I charge the same amount as I do for in person lessons. I have both local and out-of-state students who learn from me online.
I use a program called Zoom. The length of my lessons is a little different than what Simply Music recommends; most of my private lessons are 45 minutes long, whether online or in person.
Laurie Richards, Nebraska
I also use Zoom. It works great. I do group lessons. I also have 2 online students who join a class with other ‘live’ students – I guess I’d call that a hybrid class. It works out pretty smoothly most of the time.
Mark M., New York
I do both private and groups online. I’ve been using Skype, including for group lessons, ever since Skype made their multi-person video chat free (it used to be a paid premium feature). I find it works fine both on laptop and smartphone. I add a little bit of both time and tuition for online lessons compared to in-person, since it does require some extra mindfulness/communication compared to in-person. I usually only add about 5 minutes (e.g. 25 in-person private, 30 online; 30 group of 2 in-person, 35 online), and I add only $5/month as a nominal added expense rather than bumping my tuition up proportionally. Certainly I could do that, but I just want a nod to the added requirements, since it’s not really my equivalent time/expertise that’s being added, just time to account for the constraints of the medium.
Maureen K., California
I have only had one person online at a time, using FaceTime. I’ve taken online piano classes where the instructor uses Google Hangouts.
I’ve charged my usual tuition rate for online but I worry that, being coastal, my rates will seem exorbitant to mid-America or other countries. I am considering basing my rate on the region of the student rather than my California rate so I could fill more daytime slots. I have occasional inquiries from the midwest and India, but I haven’t managed to land any with my current Bay Area pricing.
I have different rates for second and third family members, paying three months at a time vs one month, etc, so that part wouldn’t be a problem for me. I use an app that charges each family the right amount, sends invoices, and receives money. Not all automatic, takes work by a person to manage, but it wouldn’t be any harder for me to add in online lesson rates.
Joan H., Canada
Further to this topic of online teaching that came up a few weeks ago: I have a couple of Skype students, and use a webcam attached to a boom for the overhead direct view of my hands to show the “how” of new pieces. I change between that view, and the face view which is direct from the integrated webcam of the laptop that I place on top of the piano and faces me.
Julia B., Canada
I used Skype on my iPad, mounted on a Levo rolling iPad stand ($100 when I bought it). I cut a hole in the back of the stand so that the rear camera was functional. I could swivel my iPad in any direction, including switching to the rear camera and directing it over my hands when teaching from the piano. Parents held a tablet and switched back and forth between me seeing the kids play and talking to their faces. It worked quite well and was an inexpensive solution. Mine were group classes, but both students in the same room. Definitely took more time than an “in-house” lesson, so in future I would also charge more. I have also done hybrids (some kids in my house, some online, when students couldn’t get to class). It was not as efficient as having everyone there, but better than having students absent.