Remote lessons are convenient. You can learn from the comfort of home while wearing your fuzzy bunny slippers and with a cup of tea close at hand. You can eliminate travel time to and from a distant location and the need to get frazzled dealing with traffic right before your lesson. If you have children, you don’t have to arrange for a sitter or outside activity for them. You can easily record your lesson. And, in these days of social distancing, you can stay safe and be sure that your health will not be compromised.
Setting up for your online voice lessons is easier than you might think. You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge. Here is what you need to know to put together an effective studio of your own.
First, be sure that you have HIGH SPEED Internet. Wiring the device you use for your lesson to your modem with an ethernet cable will insure the best possible connection with less chance of your video locking-up. But Wi-Fi connection can work, depending upon the plan you have with your Internet provider, how close you are to your modem, how many people are using the Internet at the same time, and the number of devices sharing your Internet.
BOTTOM LINE: Fastest high-speed Internet connection possible.
Second, use a device with good audio and video capability. Older computers may not be able to run the program without locking-up or otherwise failing. You will need a newer device with high speed processing. Smartphones are quite good these days. But the audio volume you hear may be limited with a Smartphone. Laptops, desktops, some tablets may be better choices. And one other tip. Place the device at eye level. Situate it so that your upper torso and above are clearly visible. Looking down is not a good position for singing.
BOTTOM LINE: Device with high speed processing and good sound and video.
Third, make sure you can access the program you will be using for your lessons. Skype, Facetime, and Zoom are a few of the most popular programs. Your teacher may be using another program. Download and register your information so that you will be good to go at lesson time.
BOTTOM LINE: Set-up the program.
Fourth (optional, but highly recommended), attach a USB microphone so that the sound of your voice comes through clearly. The Blue Snowball is one option. There are many others. Users of current iPad and iPhone and Android phone models need a separate connector for this.
BOTTOM LINE: Plug-in an external microphone.
Fifth (my recommendation for my studio), use a separate device to play back accompaniment tracks that you will sing to from your end. For this, you might use a smartphone connected to a small external speaker to amplify what you hear. If you are singing to quiet audio, you will hold-in your voice. And the teacher probably won’t be able to hear your accompaniment, either. Using the same device you are taking your lesson on is problematic. The accompaniment should be at the same volume that a guitar or piano would be at if it were in the room with you.
BOTTOM LINE: One other playback device with access to your tracks and amplification.
Other considerations. Have good lighting and a quiet location free of distractions.
That’s it! That’s the basic set-up. There are, of course, more elaborate set-ups that can enhance your online lesson experience. But this much will get you going!
Feel free to email me with your questions. I love to hear from singers!