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Challenge: Back to School 2020

Top 5 Tips to Set Your Child Up for Successful Online Music Lessons

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We live in Oregon and hadn’t been outside for a week due to wildfire smoke when I took to the internet to find something interactive for my kids to do while stuck inside for the seventh straight day. My usual tricks were old hat and the kids, four and six, were beginning to mutiny.

My daughter had been expressing interest in piano lessons so I’d been researching all the online options and picked one, which pairs students with highly trained teachers, many of whom are graduates from the top music schools in the country. Through the experience of getting my daughter set up with music lessons this fall, I have some tips to set your child up for successful online music lessons.

  1. Research: Even after I settled on a platform, I still had to pick a teacher. Some websites do have the option to put in what you want and then they will send you suggestions. Since I was desperate the other morning, though, I did the research myself. I found a music teacher who had experience teaching little kids both piano and singing.

  2. Interview: In addition to being a professionally certified music teacher, the teacher I chose seemed to have a good disposition to deal with potentially listless and frustrated young children. I messaged her through the website and got an email from her within a couple minutes. We set up a free fifteen minute trial singing lesson for later that morning since I had my four year old home, too, and I got an email confirmation with a link to our lesson. It was exceptionally easy, which is what I needed on that smokey morning.

  3. Tech Support: The class we took was through Zoom, which is what I use for work (and happy hours), so I already had it set up and ready to go on my computer. Make sure you have access to your online lesson well before your lesson time. Make sure your computer has the correct version installed and you know how to work it. Little kids like mine may be increasingly tech savvy, but can get frustrated when the technology doesn’t work how it should.

  4. Take space: Before our lesson, I set up my laptop in the living room where we have good light, acoustics, and access to the piano. Our teacher started them off with some simple stretches, then moved into a fun vocal warm up. My son, who is generally the more chaotic of the two, ran back and forth during most of the trial lesson, often participating while in motion. For him, that’s considered an educational success. The teacher handled his busy energy well and did not try to get him to settle.

  5. Communicate: Don’t be afraid to talk to the teachers about what you want to get out of your online music lessons. You all want it to be a good fit and be successful for your student. After our fifteen minute trial lesson, our teacher said goodbye to my kids and immediately sent me a follow up message. We chatted about starting piano with my daughter, but, because of the stresses of online schooling, we agreed it should be fun for her more than anything. I was able to set up a weekly lesson with her at a time that works for all of us, even though we are in different time zones and juggling online school meetings.

My kids were thrilled to have had a music lesson on their day at home, and I was thankful to provide some fast, easy fun for my kids today. I’m excited to have found a great activity to enrich my daughter’s virtual school curriculum this fall!

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