online teaching tips
This week I wanted to take a quick break from the singing tips and hit you with a hot (note) take on your at home teaching space! If you're like me, you still have the same "temporary" set up that we were forced to create in March. Whoops. Teaching voice and piano online is SO much different than an office job. Let's face it: online lessons can be frustrating for the student AND the teacher. I'm basically on hype mode, hosting TRL, and holding back my cats from jumping on the keyboard. Not to mention battling poor wifi connection. Yikes! Here are some tips that have helped me break through the zoom fatigue and have extremely productive lessons!
Make sure you have a comfortable chair. Oh...you mean my $30 decorative fluffy stool made mostly from cardboard isn’t good for my spine? My chiropractor is very mad at me.
Don’t lean in and hunch over while chatting with your students. WOW if this one isn’t me, I don’t know what is. I am constantly up in my iPhones space, making weird faces at my students, and trying to get as close as I can. Then when I take stock of how I’m sitting, it’s basically a C with my shoulders laying in my keyboard. Did I mention that my chiropractor is very mad at me?
Take a 5 minute break after each lesson to lay on your back, close your eyes, and breathe. I got this tip from Rebecca Schorsch and guess what - it changed my life. She has the best advice (as all voice teachers do). You need to re center yourself. Especially if you’re energy sensitive and soak up all the (good and bad) energy of your student.
Revisit sight reading and ear training. This has been THE BEST. If this is the advice I’m known for I will die a happy lady. Pull up some free sight reading examples online, share your screen with your student, and get it done!! This is the perfect time to do this. No excuses. You know they need it. I bet YOU need it. Don’t sleep on this opportunity.
Take notes. This has been a game changer for me. I used to never write anything down. Now, during each lesson I take some notes about what is working and what isn’t. I write down new exercises and warm ups we do and how students respond. I can then type those notes up in a google doc with their name on it and track their progress/get inspiration for other students.
Digitize your student's repertoire. Okay so if I’m not known for the whole sight reading thing, this is the second thing I want. I made a digital folder for each student and put their rep in it. That’s it. Something so simple and small changed my life forever. No more 50 pound binders breaking my back. No more flipping through sheet music. It’s a MIRACLE. And my laptop is somehow fancy enough that I can write on the sheet music ON my laptop and make notes. I don’t know how I got so lucky.
Be ready to pivot when something isn’t working. I have gotten more new students during this time than ever before - and I was shocked at how BAD I was the first time I worked with a new student online. I couldn’t find the words to describe what I wanted them to do because I was so used to just showing them. What an amazing wake up call! Now I can teach new students with my eyes closed from the other side of the world.
Get yourself some blue light blocking glasses. Ya'll this is not even a little optional. If you don't have them yet, your life is about to be changed forever. I can actually teach for like 8 hours straight and not feel tired after! They are amazing.
I hope this helps you settle in for what seems like the rest of 2020. The good news is that you can wear pajamas 24/7 - or as I say "always ready for a nap" chic.