As the corona virus spreads, experts are recommending social distancing to slow the rate of infection as much as possible. Given all that, it’s certainly conceivable to think that it might be wise for us to be ready for some online piano lessons should you want to do that at some point in the weeks ahead.

Here’s what you need to know: Online lessons are easy to set up, and they can work just as well as in-person lessons. I have lots of experience doing this, so let me help you make it as easy as possible.

Prepare Your Device

You already have the equipment you need to do online lessons. Basically, I just need to be able to see and hear your student during the lessons. Your smart phone will work as a bare minimum, but bigger screens work better, so if you have an iPad or a laptop, I would strongly prefer that.

Your device will need to be placed near the end of the piano so I can see the student’s hands on the keys. I’d like to be able to see the student’s face as well. So, you’ll need a stool or a small table to place your device on. One of my students did this recently by setting a dining room chair next to the end of the keyboard, then piling the chair with books to raise the height of the laptop. It worked perfectly. A bar stool would likely be close to the right height as well.

Here’s what I use, and I show it just for the purpose of letting you see the approximate spot you’ll need to place your device.

Zoom is the software I prefer to use for online lessons. It’s free and easy to install on any device. It would be great it you would go ahead and install it now on any device you think you might want to use for online lessons. For tablets or phones, just install it from the app store for your device. For computers, visit https://zoom.us/download and click the big blue DOWNLOAD button at the top of the page. It will be labeled “Zoom Client for Meetings.” Once you’ve downloaded the file, double-click it to install it. That’s it. You’re ready.

When it’s time for the lesson to begin, I’ll send you an email with a link to my online Zoom session. Click the link, and you’re in and ready to go.

If you decide you’d prefer an online lesson at any time in the weeks ahead, just let me know and we’ll make it happen, sticking to our regular lesson times, of course.

And while we’re talking about online lessons, keep in mind that it’s always a good option for snow days, or days when a student is dealing with a bad cold or something else contagious, but still feels well enough to do a piano lesson. I’ve also done it recently with a student whose parents simply weren’t able to drive him to his lesson on a particular day.

Take care, all, and please keep washing those hands!