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Lessons via SKYPE are a great alternative for folks with busy schedules or that travel a lot or have other challenges going to a teacher's studio for lessons.

ERIC'S TOP 10 REASONS WHY SKYPE LESSONS ROCK:

1. It is better to have SKYPE lessons with an excellent teacher than it is to have in-person lessons with a mediocre teacher. SKYPE gives students even more options to choose from when looking for a teacher since they are not restricted to their small local region.

2. Students don’t have to travel 10 or 20 minutes to their teacher’s studio. Also, when a student is 5 or 10 minutes late, I give them a courtesy call in case they forgot, but if they live 15 minutes away and they have a 30 or even 45 minute lesson, it’s hardly worth it for them to come late. Lessons online means no missed lessons due to forgetfulness since the student and teacher can connect 30 seconds after the courtesy call.

3. While students always have the option to record their face-to-face lessons, that never happens (at least, in the history of my teaching). But students can easily record SKYPE lessons for review at a later time with software like Evaer and SuperTinTin (audio only: Pamela, MP3 Skype Recorder, and VodBurner).

4. Face-to-face students must drive home before practicing what they learned (which eats up time and tires people out), distance students can practice immediately after the lesson when ideas are fresh and when energy levels are still high. This is an extra practice session most students will get. The first practice session will always be of higher quality when it is done immediately than if it were done the next day, and the first practice session is the most important session of the entire week.

5. Kids can do their own thing while their siblings have lessons, while "in studio", they are held hostage until their siblings are done!

6. Students can warm up on their instrument before their lesson, only stopping seconds before the lesson begins.  The student also gets to play their own instrument!  This would let the student show off their best playing to their teacher each week instead of their worst.  

7. According to a study in 2010, off-task behaviors took up 36% more time in face-to-face lessons than in distance lessons.  My psychology degrees tell me that part of this might be due to an awkwardness factor that I think we all feel when talking through a webcam.  It’s harder to feel and act as we normally would in front of a webcam than it is when face-to-face. The study also found that eye contact during distance lessons is more frequent, and this is probably for the same reason!

8. The same study indicates that students spend 22% more time performing during distance lessons than in face-to-face lessons.

9. Sometimes the technical or musical problems students experience in their lesson can be an unexpected artifact of their unique instrument or practice environment at home. For example: the student is afraid to play too loud because of living in an apartment or because family members are asleep. These factors would come out immediately in a webcam lesson, but it might take a few face-to-face lessons for a teacher to figure out why the student doesn’t seem to ever “play out.”

10. Students won’t need to cancel lessons because they had the stomach flu two days before. There is also less suffering for everyone: students won’t suffer if I ate onion rings for lunch, and bagpipe and accordion teachers have the option of muting their computer speakers while their students play! :)

 

WHAT WILL I NEED TO GET STARTED?

1. A smartphone, laptop or desktop computer with a built in or external webcam.

2. For smartphone users I recommend getting this to clip on your piano, drum kit, desk, music stand so you can angle your smartphone any way you like! 

3. High speed internet connection.

4. SKYPE application which is free HERE!

5. That's it!