In our 'new normal', Little Strummers have moved their music lessons online during the lockdown period. To help our students get the most out of their music practice, we have answered some commonly asked questions and provided a few tips, so that you can have the best online lesson ever!
Tuning your instrument
Having a tuned instrument is vital to having a great practice. Playing with an out-of-tune instrument is not only, not so nice on the ears! But also makes it difficult to know if you're making mistakes.
With practice, you will be able to tune your instrument just by listening and adjusting accordingly but if you're not sure there are gadgets and tools out there you can use to help you.
For guitars and ukuleles, there are websites with online guides which can help you to tune by matching the sound. Fender has produced a good one which covers guitars and ukuleles:
You can also download an app to your phone, where buttons and colours are available to help you find the right notes. Again, Fender is good, and is available free from the App store.
If you’d like to buy a tuner to clip onto your instrument, have a look on Amazon or a music shop website – there are lots to choose from.
Some recommended makes are Snark, Tiger, Korg and Stagg, all available for under £10. There are lots of other brands, however we have found that some of the cheaper ones don’t work properly.
A good online tuner for violins can be found here.
Please take care when tuning your violin, it needs to be done very carefully and slowly. If you are at all unsure, it's better not to risk damaging your instrument and letting a professional take care of this instead! Perhaps ask you to teacher to guide you during the first part of your online lesson.
Contact the Little Strummers office or your teacher if you need any assistance with this.
Set an alarm
When we are out of our normal routines, it's easy to forget things. We advise all our students to set an alarm 5-10 minutes before the start of their lesson so that you can be set up and ready to go, without wasting any lesson time.
It also gives you an opportunity to troubleshoot any unexpected technical issues (should they come up!) and you will feel focused and ready to play.
Setting up your learning space
Minimise background noise
Whilst we are all at home during the lockdown, we understand it can be tricky finding a quiet space to have your lesson. However, it can be tricky to hear your teacher (and your teacher to hear you) or the instrument being played when there is lots of background noise.
A couple of things to bear in mind when setting up your music lesson is to ensure the room doesn't echo (limit feedback through your speakers) and that other household members respect your need for a quiet space.
It sounds pretty straightforward! But you need to be able to see what you're doing and so does your teacher. It is best to position yourself so that there are no bright lights/sun behind you and the room is well lit. Your camera quality will be much better and make it easier for everyone to see you playing.
Whether you're using a desktop computer, webcam, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, make sure that the device is stable and secured properly on the surface you're using. Having to adjust your camera angle or pick up a fallen device isn't helpful for you during a practice!
It's also best to adjust your camera so that both your hands can be seen so your teacher can ensure your posture and technique is correct.
Broadband use in your house
When you think about it, there are A LOT of devices in your home that require Wi-Fi. Everyone in your household probably has a mobile phone, computer/laptop, tablet each and then you've got gaming consoles, TVs, etc.
It all adds up and they are all trying to access the same Wi-Fi connection. It can make your connection slower when all these devices are trying to connect at once.
So we recommend that when it's time for your lesson, switch off the devices that aren't being used and maybe limit the amount of active devices being used during your lesson so you get the best internet connection.
You're all set to have the best online music lesson ever! If you have any queries, please consult your music teacher or drop us an email at the Little Strummers office. We're always happy to help.
Take care and happy strumming!