At Levine Music, we believe in making high-quality music education accessible to everyone. Using the power of technology and leveraging some of the best musical tools available, we strive to create an engaging virtual teaching environment. Through our Virtual Campus, our faculty provides the same tailored instruction you would receive in person, all from the comfort of home (or wherever you may be!).
All offerings for the 2020-21 year will be available in an online format and a hybrid approach, utilizing online and, when feasible, limited in-person instruction. All Levine instruction will take place online only at least through December 2020.
Getting the Most from Online Music Lessons
Online lessons are a great option for music students, allowing you to connect with your teachers when you cannot meet in person — and continue growing and learning.
What do I need for online music lessons?
All you need is a strong internet connection and a device with a working camera and microphone – ideally a computer or tablet, but a smartphone will work as well. The internet connection is most important. A hardwire (ethernet) connection is ideal, but if not, make sure you are close to your WiFi router. Optional equipment may include a USB microphone, webcam, or an audio interface.
Proper placement of your device helps your teacher see your technique and give you helpful feedback. Your teacher may provide specific tips for your instrument or area of study. For example, they may ask you to place your device at a specific angle to better see your hands.
A great way to start is to:
- Place your device directly in front of you (or from the side for piano).
- Ensure your face and both hands are visible.
- Keep your device about an arm’s length away (certain instruments may need to be farther away from the microphone to avoid distortion).
Before your lesson starts, we recommend doing the following:
- Set up your lesson space. Choose a quiet space free of distractions and with a great WiFi connection (to test this, check both download and upload speeds at https://www.speedtest.net/). To help your instructor best hear your instrument, minimize background noises, including the presence of other household members. Ask others to avoid using the internet during your lesson, if possible.
- Test your camera and microphone. Make sure you are well-lit from the front (ideally facing bright windows) – and that your mic is working!
- Prepare your music, note-taking materials, instrument, and other equipment. Make sure everything you need for your lesson is within reach. If applicable, tune your instrument before your lesson starts.
- Charge/plug in your device. Video calls drain the battery very quickly, so make sure you have enough battery power.
Software and Logging In
Levine Music uses Zoom for lessons and classes. This is a free app you can download onto your device. Follow the prompts to make sure Zoom can access your device’s camera and microphone.
Prior to your lesson, you will receive your teacher’s Zoom link. If you log on ahead of time, you will see a screen saying that the host has not started the meeting yet, or to wait until the host lets you in.
Adjusting Your Audio
Zoom allows music teachers and students to adjust the audio settings in order to better hear one another. Once you’re logged in to Zoom, please take these steps to enable your microphone’s original sound:
- Click the upward arrow next to the microphone icon and select “Audio Settings.”
- Uncheck the box that says “Automatically adjust microphone volume.”
- Click the “Advanced” button on the lower right.
- Check the box that says, “Show in-meeting option to ‘Enable Original Sound’ from microphone.”
- Disable “Suppress persistent background noise” and “Suppress intermittent background noise.” When you return to the meeting screen, you should see a button in the upper left that says, “Turn Off Original Sound.” This means you have successfully enabled the original sound, and your teacher will be able to hear your instrument’s true sound. To turn it off, click this button once, and it should say “Turn on Original Sound.”
- Your teacher can help you adjust your microphone level during your lessons as needed.
How are online music lessons and classes different than in-person?
Online lessons work very much like in-person lessons, with just a few adjustments. While they generally require more planning time by the teacher, in some ways they have proven superior to in-person lessons. Levine’s online music lessons are active and synchronous – meaning that both the student and teacher are live at the same time, actively working through material together.
Ways in which online lessons differ include:
- Teachers use more call and response, rather than playing together at the same time.
- Teachers may record a teacher duet part ahead of time so that you can practice with it.
- Teachers and students can share their screen and make notes right on the music score.
- Students can warm up immediately before, and practice immediately after, their lesson.
- Students can record their lessons to help with their own practice. This also allows you to observe your own progress!
- Teachers can record small instructional clips of the lesson to help students learn specific things. These clips can be used in practice during the week, and help you know exactly what and how to practice.
Interested in Online Private Lessons?
Levine offers private music lessons at all levels in 22 instruments and voice. Students may begin at any time throughout the year.
Interested in Online Group Classes or Ensembles?
Classes and ensembles for all ages and abilities begin at various times throughout the year.