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Skype Lesson Advice?



 
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Steve A
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Joined: 26 May 2006
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Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 5:13 am    Post subject: Skype Lesson Advice? Reply with quote

Hi all,

After years of curiosity, I'm taking a Skype lesson with Pops McLaughlin, but have never taken (or given) a Skype lesson before. I'm sure he knows what he's doing, but I'm curious if anyone has any advice about making Skype as the delivery model work as well as possible for vision, sound quality, etc., etc. I'm thinking in terms of light, how far to sit from the laptop (MacBook), and anything else that might be helpful.

Thanks!
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Cory.D
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Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend using a USB microphone as they are relatively inexpensive and will give a more clear answer as to what you sound like on the other side of the computer. Also, a nice set of speakers would help when trying to listen to any sort of nuance whether it be sound or articulation. Hope this helps and good luck!
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TKSop
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Joined: 23 Feb 2014
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd echo the need for as good a mic as possible - laptop inbuilts are less than ideal IMHO.

If at all possible, find a way to record the lesson so you can play it back - even if the teacher supplies you with notes afterwards (I hear some do?) I'd think it'll make it easier to relate to them.
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JorgePD
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Joined: 03 Apr 2018
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Location: Lake Worth, FL

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been taking Skype lessons from Bruce Haag and this was my first time using Skype as well. Bruce told me up front I didn't need a microphone or a special camera as long as I had a decent laptop, which I do. We had a short Skype session before my first lesson just to be sure.

Bruce has me stand for my lessons, so I place my laptop (PC) on a dresser that puts the laptop camera at eye level. I stand about three feet away and my lighting source is behind me. When we start our sessions I adjust the angle of the camera and we're good to go.

I also found that the acoustics in my bedroom were better suited for the Skype lessons than my practice room. So you may want to try different rooms to see what works best for you.

I've read good things about Pop McLaughlin. Enjoy your lessons!
Jorge
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TrumpetMD
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Joined: 22 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a couple skype lessons a few years back. I used an inexpensive mic that came with my desktop computer. I didn't play directly at the mic, but instead place the mic off to the side a few feet away with me. This worked out pretty well. Try recording yourself ahead of time, experimenting with mic placement, to see what works best.

Mike
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Speed
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Joined: 13 May 2015
Posts: 180
Location: Mississippi

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I set up an iPad on a purpose-built stand (from Sweetwater), plug it in (so I won't have any battery worries) and turn all the lights in the room on. The teacher will likely move you around a bit so he can see what he wants to see.

I have found no need for a separate mic or speakers.

I'm using Facetime, but I assume the same concepts will apply to Skype.

Take care,
Marc Speed
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Steve A
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Joined: 26 May 2006
Posts: 1435
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Updating:

Thanks, everyone, for your input! In the end, just carefully placing lights and using the laptop mic (as well as decent speakers) worked pretty well, but I'll look into a USB mic in future.

Also, to anyone on the fence: I found Pop's suggestions clear, specific, applicable, and useful. I've got a bunch of helpful new ideas, and lots to practice. (And, perhaps more importantly, a clear understanding of why to practice it.) If you're at all curious, but hesitant because of not being sure a Skype lesson could work, I'd encourage you not to hesitate.
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cbumcrot
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Joined: 29 Jun 2013
Posts: 6
Location: NJ/NY

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that a decent mike is the best option. Camera is not as important but laptop and iPhone mikes are not the best option. You want to get your money's worth!! When I FT or Skype with a student it's via an actual digital handheld camera on a tripod and the sound is through two ribbon mikes into a preamp/DA converter. The reception on the student's end is fabulous, so they tell me. I would hope that serious student's would invest a bit into at least a good USB mike connected to a laptop or iPad. All of this is not absolutely necessary... but again... get your money's worth!
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