Shortly after the beginning of 2020 the COVID-19 Pandemic took over the world and caused us all to deal with a new normal and to adopt new ways of living and working. Voice teachers, along with everyone else, devised ways to work online utilizing various resources. Some experimented with Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Duo, as well as with complete virtual voice teaching platforms such as the one offered on voicelessons.com. By now, most teachers have their systems and practices well in place, and they have successfully moved some, if not all, of their teaching practices to online platforms.
I had already determined that online teaching was the way of the future. My virtual studio was established in October of 2019. For that reason, my transition was relatively easy. Most of my students gladly agreed to work with me via Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom. I have settled on the Zoom platform because it has lesson recording and screen sharing capabilities. Security and waiting room features regulate who takes the lesson and when. And I can teach group lessons and classes.
Teaching from my home studio, I have more scheduling flexibility. And I can teach students from all over the world. I have all my books and materials close at hand. I lose no time between lessons. Basically, I have much more control over my teaching practice.
Online teaching benefits students. These lessons are convenient. Students can work from the comfort and privacy of their own homes. They do not lose time traveling to and from lessons. Scheduling options open up when the student is not trying to quickly get from one activity to another. There is breathing time.
But the real benefits of online lessons have surprised many teachers. Students tend to be more focused and engaged. They listen and apply concepts much more quickly and readily. The camera takes the place of a mirror. While many students taking in-person voice lessons have what I call mirror aversion, the video camera seems to solve that problem. And when the student is always watching what they are doing as they sing, they can make corrections and adjustments in real time. If they view their recordings after the lesson it will help them to set the new habits. I can send through comments and assignments as the lesson is in progress, which the student can read upon viewing the video. Simply seeing the information in type on the screen makes the difference in whether the student completes the task. The audio, video, and text tie the lesson together in a neat, multi-sensory package. And it takes the place of old-fashioned note taking by the student who often lost time to note taking in the in-person lesson. Remote lessons cause students to be more organized, self-sufficient, resourceful, and responsible – all wonderful life skills. They need to locate and have accompaniment tracks and sheet music at the ready. When students see the results of their personal efforts in lessons, they progress at a faster pace.
I incorporate an online booking and payment system that streamlines my administrative work. The 10to8.com program handles payments, bookings, lesson reminders, cancellations, and more. With those details off my mind, I can devote more time to my students and lesson preparation. My student community is updated about Studio activities and events through my newsletter and my social media sites. Communications and learning via virtual reality are in many ways stronger than they were before online lessons became our new reality. I am looking forward to fall and terrific lesson progress from all my wonderful students.