It all starts with dreams. Every day we can imagine playing our favourite song on the piano. When the idea matures and our hearts fills up with courage, it’s time to get to work. A mentor can be a great support to us, but he cannot do the work instead of us. Let’s set goals and get started. Every day is a new day and a new opportunity.
I do not see a significant difference between distance education, as I do it myself, and "close" education. In both cases, there can be a high-quality transfer of information for the participant to progress and develop. So it's important that we hear and see each other - and nothing else.
The other three senses, such as smell, touch and taste, are of course vital senses, but they are not so essential in teaching the piano. In classical teaching up close, palpation is sometimes used in pedagogical work, but it is much less important than in the ears and eyes, and it can be largely replaced by a conversation about touch and gesticulation. I find the will and discipline of work much more important.
Many like to say that they prefer personal contact, and I wonder why they condition personal contact with physical intimacy. Distance learning, as I understand and implement it myself, can also be very personal. In my opinion, personal contact is built mainly through confidential communication, while medium is not essential.
Piano education is adapted to the individual's knowledge, abilities, ambitions and desires, so it is chosen together with the student. The learning of music theory goes hand in hand with the learning of the instrument.
The amount of exercise depends on the individual’s ambitions. I do not give grades when testing knowledge. I am happy to open the door to the world of piano music to a student and remind him that the exercise is useful.
I recommend at least half an hour of exercise a day, and for the slightly more ambitious at least an hour a day.
I can expect attention and encouragement with stepping to the world of piano music. However, everyone is entering through this door on their own.
In other words, the teacher cannot walk this path instead of the student, but he can show him the path and encourage him to do so.
As a mentor, I am aware that motivation is essential for individual development, so I strive to ensure that the participant's music literature is chosen together with a student. For young people, a textbook is usually chosen, followed by formal education un music school, while for adults, songs are selected on an ongoing basis, and their difficulty is adapted to the individual's current knowledge, ambitions, abilities and tastes. As a mentor, I have certain reservations about ‘non-piano’ songs, as they are often accompanied by inappropriate and deficient (non-pedagogical) notation.
The programs differ only in the leased time of the mentor's presence in a certain period; so by frequency or intensity of total time spent together online. The pedagogical approach and literature do not depend on the program, because they are adapted to each individual anyway.
I teach all types of music, but I prefer to teach classical songs, as they are often accompanied by an appropriate musical notation. In more fun, lighter genres, the problem is often a non-pedagogical notation, which does not contain information about the fingering, dynamics, interpretation etc. In this case, the notation must be properly equipped and the missing markings replaced. Freer genres that often border on improvisation, such as e.g. jazz, blues and rock, I teach in a slightly different way: by learning chords, scales and modes - which, in addition to musicality, often requires a lot of knowledge of music theory.
The teaching of music theory goes hand in hand with the learning of the instrument, but we can also agree with the student on additional lessons dedicated to music theory.
Lessons can be taught in Slovene or English.
Yes, in piano lessons, a Google Document is used, where the mentor writes homework instructions until the next lesson. The notebook also contains permanent login data for Zoom connection with the teacher and access to the shared Dropbox folder, which contains scans of music literature that serve the teacher during the lesson. There is also a link to all recorded lessons. During the lesson and practice, it is higly recommended that student reads from the paper printed scores and makes his markings manually.
Each lesson is being recorded with the student's consent. After the lesson is over, each lesson is uplouded to YouTube with the status 'Unlisted', which means it is not indexed in the YouTube search engine, so no one can find or come across it randomly by exploring content on YouTube. All the lessons of a particular student are added to YouTube playlist with a status 'Unlisted', which is especially dedicated to him.
Only an individual with a complex YouTube link has access to the contents of the recorded lessons. Usually the link is reserved only for a teacher and a student except in the case of a younger student, when the link is also provided to his parents or guardians.
No, the use of an additional external microphone is not mandatory, but it is recommended. The microphones integrated into our computers are usually optimized for speech, and in the case of piano lessons, it’s also about music. Therefore, it is recommended to use an additional external microphone with a wider frequency spectrum and greater dynamic response.
It is recommended to use an external USB microphone or a combination of a sound card and a microphone with an XLR input.
Below are some affordable examples:
Audio interfaces (sound cards):
No, the use of headphones in online piano curses is not desirable, because the student must hear not only the teacher but also his instrument. The exception is if the settings are such that a student can hear his instrument in the headphones.
Exceptions are in-ear headphones that support so-called transparency mode, e.g. Apple AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM3, which can be set to work similarly to hearing aids, so they pick up and play sound from the environment (instrument), and at the same time you can hear the teacher talking through them.
When using an external microphone, it is important to be at the point where it picks up both sources of sound: the sound of the student’s instrument and the sound of his voice.
The microphone must therefore be positioned and adjusted to pick up both sound sources. With condenser microphones with the possibility of adjusting the polarity it is a bit easier.
Optimizing settings in the Zoom app is important. The default settings are set for video conferencing, which mostly does not include music, but only speech, and in the case of a piano lesson, it is also music. In most cases (depending on the microphones in use) it is best to adjust the sound settings as follows:
The settings recommended above are not always optimal, as it is very important what kind of microphone is in use and in what sound environment the lesson takes place.
The camera should be positioned so that the teacher can see the student's hands and face at the same time. This is usually on the side where the teacher usually sits while teaching 'in person', not too high or too low.
HD cameras with at least 720p resolution, which are mostly integrated into laptops, are recommended. An additional USB webcam (Webcam) is even more recommended, e.g. Logitech, as they mostly have better light adaptation than integrated, and some also offer full HD resolution (1080p). Also, using an external camera relieves the student's neck, as he does not have to constantly turn left or right towards the monitor to see what the teacher is showing him, because he can place a computer or external monitor on the instrument. In this case, a USB extension cable is also required.
No, I do not recommend student is using two cameras while learning. If the side camera is set up correctly, the teacher gets enough information to be able to evaluate the student’s technique, use of the fingering etc.
The student does not have enough time to switch between the two cameras because he must focus on playing and studying the piano.
Yes, but this is not recommended due to the small screen, which is relatively remote due to the simultaneous use of the camera. On a remote telephone screen, the student has to sharpen his eyes quite a bit to see what the teacher is showing him with the help of tloris camera. With the tablet, this problem is somewhat smaller.
However, if a student decides to use a mobile device, I recommend landscape mode camera settings, except in the case of very tall students, where portrait mode settings are preferred.
The use of an additional external monitor is optional, but recommended. Laptops usually have an HDMI output to which an external monitor or TV can be connected. In this way, the student's neck muscles are relieved, as in this way they observe the teacher with their head turned forward and not to the side.
Find the Video Settings menu inside the Zoom app preferences and consult with the teacher about the ‘enable HD’ settings and the aspect ratio. ‘Enable HD’ is not always the best solution, especially when it comes to an unstable internet connection.
Of course, digital pianos are satisfying in teaching beginners and some of them also later. I wouldn't advise using the digital piano only to those who are preparing for the exam in state music schools, as the exam there will certainly not be held on the digital piano.
When buying a digital piano, a student can seek advice from a teacher.
The online classroom is best placed in the quietest part of the apartment, which is the least sonically polluted. Sound pollution can be present near the bathroom and in the kitchen (household appliances, machines) or in parts of the apartment where children play. With open windows, road traffic can be a problem, and loud birdsong in the summer.
Also, due to the operation of the cameras, it is desirable to place the online classroom in that part of the apartment that has a lot of outdoor daylight, which is usually near the windows.
Yes, in online piano classes, the metronome and knowledge of its use is extremely important, because only with a student's metronom the teacher can fully check his rhythmical stability.
Both types of metronomes, analog or digital metronome, are satisfactory if they work correctly and loud enough.
A metronome can also be used in the form of a free application that the student installs on a mobile device (which in this case cannot be the device through which the transfer takes place). In case you opt for this option, I recommend the Pro Metronome app:
A free introductory lesson can be arranged with the teacher.
Tuition depends on the program and package you take. Information on the amount of schooling can be found on this website a little higher.
A student can expect an invoice until the 5th day of the month for previous month. The payment deadline is the 15th of the month.
Enrollment is at the beginning of each month.
If a student is absent from school justifiably (in case of illness or force majeure), a lesson must be replaced. The teacher must be notified of the absence at least 24 hours before the missed lesson, otherwise the student is not entitled to replacement, and the teacher charges the missed lesson.
The exception is sudden illness, if a student falls ill overnight or comes home from school ill, then the student or guardian must inform the teacher as soon as possible. The student is entitled to replacement in cases of unexpected illness once a quarter (every 3 months).
In the case of absence of the teacher, the teacher and the student make up for the missed lesson.
Classes are held on a weekly basis, which is a matter of agreement between the teacher and the student.
So far, a teachere does not issue certificates in my piano teaching. However, he is ready to help you prepare for the official exam at the music school, where you will receive the appropriate certificate if you successfully pass the exam.
The teacher must be notified of any withdrawal at least one month in advance. In the event that you check out early before the package you picked up expires, your payment will be treated according to the highest package you have completed. Learn more in the business conditions.