Podcast Ep. 2 – The Pros and Cons of Online Singing Lessons

Posted on: September 13, 2020

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It really felt like someone pulled the handbrake on life as we knew back in March when countries around the world went in to lockdown. This affected different industries in different ways and today I’m going to be talking about the education industry and more specifically, singing education and vocal coaching and the necessity of online lessons.


The Pros

  • No more commuting for you lesson, finding parking etc. This takes a lot of the stress out of the equation for people and saves people a lot of time!


  • ¬†For me as a teacher being able to stare at you on the computer without making you feel uncomfortable. I can analyse your vowel shapes in such detail, notice any tension in your extrinsic or articulators and monitor your emotional connection and communication deeply in the micro movements of your eyes and face.


  • Lesson recordings – you have a video recording of every lesson. At Voiceworks we just pop them in to a google drive folder and you’ve your lesson to review for the week.


  • Sharing my screen with a shared google doc at the beginning of the lesson taking minutes as the student speaks about their experience of practice that week and doing the same at the end of the session as a round up. Having this written record to keep us on track, having the visual of me writing things out in bullet format as we collaborate and process our plans and reflections as a coach and student team of dreams! Heaven!


  • Having a singing lesson from the safe environment of your own home can bring out the best in singers who tend to be nervous in their lessons.


  • We get to work with you in your practice space. We can even get the student to simulate their practice routine. I’ve even had lessons with students that I was merely a fly on the wall for them as they practice, I took notes and we discussed how they can make their practice sessions more effective.


The Cons

  • If you don’t have a good internet speed your experience is going to be poor. It won’t flow, you’ll get screen freeze. An alternative we’ve used at Voiceworks for those with poor internet speeds in their area is to record video messages back and forth. The student records themselves singing on the phone sends it via Whatsapp or Marcopolo and the teacher can respond back with feedback on their performance and further instructions and so on..


  • If you don’t feel comfortable belting it out at home then online lessons might be really challenging. But this exposes another issue. If you haven’t been able to find privacy in your home space for practice this means you’re only really touching base with your voice once a week at your lesson which isn’t ideal.


  • Missing out on the energy exchange between you and your teacher. No matter how HD the visual and crisp the audio it’s still a screen. The complexity of social interaction and connection between the student and teacher creates a more emotional experience and we tend to remember and process emotionally heightened experiences better. So we’ve got some ground to cover here on the online lesson in terms of making the lessons feeling emotional engaging and uplifting and inspiring.


  • For more accompaniment driven teaching online is really challenging due to latency but there are amazing softwares including Cleanfeed available to solve that live music making problem for you or SoundJack which is a low latency audio/video communication


  • No escape from the damn screen. So much screen time. Teachers find a way to reduce screen time in other ways if you can if you’re teaching all day on zoom. I recommend refraining from social media as much as possible, I delete the apps from my phone as they’re very addictive and I’ve got undistracted installed on my google chrome browser which blocks my Facebook and Youtube news feed.

So that’s my take on the whole in person lesson versus online. I think online lessons are here to stay and provide an amazing opportunity for us to connect with new students and students with new teachers and if we use it with an innovative mindset we can make it a really enhanced and creative learning experience!