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Looking for Skype teaching tips – coronavirus lockdown



 
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alli
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Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Arona, Italy

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:03 am    Post subject: Looking for Skype teaching tips – coronavirus lockdown Reply with quote

Hi all,

I live in northern Italy, and I and my students are currently under lockdown due to coronavirus, which means that all of my teaching has now been moved to Skype.

Most of my students don't have great internet connections, and the first couple of lessons that I've given this week have been a bit of a struggle between sound delays and not really being able to hear what volume they're playing at.

Does anyone have any tips for trumpet distance learning? In addition to technical tips, I'd love to hear from people who do this regularly about what the easiest aspects of trumpet playing to work remotely on are, any other resources (SmartMusic? Other programs?) that I can use to supplement video lessons.

Any ideas for other creative group things we could try to do long distance would also be great.

Grazie mille, everyone!
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JVL
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Joined: 07 Feb 2016
Posts: 788
Location: Nissa, France

PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ciao Alli
maybe contact Andrea Tofanelli via fb, he should help.
Fatevi coraggio ! Forza !
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Brad361
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Joined: 16 Dec 2007
Posts: 6564
Location: Houston, TX.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be interested in this also. We are not on lock down....yet....but all my lessons are in the schools, which are closed until at least 4-10, and I suspect that they may not resume at all until fall.

Maybe some of the guys who teach via Skype, like John Mohan, will respond.

Brad
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FeBolas
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Joined: 04 Dec 2004
Posts: 41
Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm adjunct at Texas Southern University, USA. I'm assigning my students something to record each week (scales, etudes, etc), and then share via Blackboard (our school site for giving assignments electronically), as well as having live lessons via Zoom video conferencing.

Not much you can do about slow connections; if it's too poor for live conferencing, I think you're stuck with recordings as far as actual playing goes. If any of my students have trouble with video conferencing, I plan to have a phone conversation "lesson" with them in which we talk about their playing and goals for the week, as well as discuss some recordings to listen to which I would assign in advance. Haven't tried that, though--that's just plan B.

I actually logged on here to start a thread on USB microphone suggestions both for myself and to recommend to my students.

Cheers, good health to all!

Andy
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kehaulani
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Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Posts: 4504
Location: Texas, by way of Germany and Hawai'i

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alli - stay safe!
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alli
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Joined: 07 Jul 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Arona, Italy

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your advice and well wishes, everyone!

I thought I'd put some of my experiences here as well because it seems like other people are interested, but I would still very much welcome input from people who have more than a couple of weeks' experience with this!

Recording etudes is a great idea. I did have one student send me some short voice message recordings of exercises via WhatsApp during a lesson the other day so that I could hear the quality of his articulations, so that's also an option if videoconferencing is good enough for you to get the general gist but not good enough to get the details.

I also asked on some Facebook groups, and I've had some time for me and my students to figure out some stuff that works. Some basic tips for anyone else trying this:

1) If you have cables, both you and your students plugging into your routers directly instead of using WiFi makes a dramatic difference.
2) Both Zoom and Google Meet seem to work much better than Skype.
3) Use headphones or loose fitting earbuds (not sure about the technical term, but not the kind that go all the way into the ear as that messes too much with your perception of your playing) for both of you and keep one ear in and one ear out. This cuts down on the feedback loop where your microphone picks up on the sound from your speaker without being too irritating while you're playing.
4) If the connection isn't great, having the student play along with a metronome can help you figure out whether rhythm problems are the student or Skype/Zoom/Meet. I learned this the hard way after spending 45 minutes telling one of my students that he needed to play in time, only to have him turn on the metronome and hear the metronome go "Click... click click........... click....... click..... click click click"
5) As I mentioned above, when you need to hear in more detail than you are able via the video conference, sending back and forth short voice recordings of the exercise during the lesson goes the long way. As a bonus, they also have a copy of the recording and you can have them listen back and try to hear where the problems were.

I still haven't found any solution re: dynamics. Everything seems to come out somewhere between mp and mf regardless of how loud they are actually playing.
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Speed
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Joined: 13 May 2015
Posts: 223
Location: Mississippi

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have taken lessons via Facetime for over two years. I live in a rural area, and my internet connections are less than ideal. Still, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times it has been bad enough to interrupt the lesson.

I mount an iPad on a stand. I do not use any sort of external microphone. It is a very basic setup, but it has served its purpose.

My teacher sometimes comments on my dynamics, so I assume the internal mic in my iPad is picking those up OK.

Take care,
Marc Speed


Last edited by Speed on Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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cgaiii
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Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 580
Location: Virginia USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another platform that I can suggest is Zoom. It seems to perform better than Skype with slower connections.
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Speed
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Joined: 13 May 2015
Posts: 223
Location: Mississippi

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife had her first Zoom meeting this morning - from our rural home, with our sometimes slow internet connections - and she said it went fine with no problems. My understanding is that it included her and about a half dozen other people. I believe all were using iPads, but she's the tech person at our house, not me.

Take care,
Marc Speed
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bspickler
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Joined: 08 Sep 2004
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Location: Denver, CO

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used both Skype and Zoom and found Zoom to be better particularly when good audio is required.
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Brad361
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Joined: 16 Dec 2007
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Location: Houston, TX.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update reply: I used Facetime last Monday for lesson students, it’s ok for now, certainly better than nothing.

Brad
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