Online piano lesson setup guide - for students
By Yiran Feng - updated on Aug.20 2022
Bare minium ( don't do this )
Due to the small screen size and poor internal microphone, a mobile phone or a small tablet should be avoided. The effectiveness of the lesson will be severely reduced since the teacher cannot hear the performance clearly in this setup. This should be only used in emergency.
Sound quality is very important during online lesson on both side. If you are using a tablet or laptop for the lesson, it is highly recommanded that you get an external microphone. For convenience, we recommend you to purchase a good quality USB microphone, which are very common these days, especially since the pandemic.
Popular and quality brand include Blue Yeti, Marantz, Rode and a few others. They usually cost around £80 - 100 but deal on Amazon is frequent, watch out for those.
For beginners and intermediate level students, audio quality from teacher's end may not be important. It may be beneficial if an external set of speakers or headphones are used by the student for advanced classes.
Zoom sound settings
It is very important to enable original sound in zoom settings.
Click settings → Audio → Advanced → click the checkbox saying show in-meeting option to “enable original sound” from microphone, also uncheck Automatically adjust volume.
After joining the meeting, in the upper left hand corner remember to click “turn on Original Sound”.
ENTRY LEVEL SETUP
If you happen to have a fixed table on the side, and laptop's webcam is the only option, adjust the screen so that the camera can be pointed at optimal angle. If possible, elevate the device using books, etc for better views. Student's hand need to be clearly visible
Mini-tripod with phone with an additional zoom account can be used as an camera input
A music stand or similar mobile table may be more adaptive and convenient in many situations
ADVANCED LEVEL SETUP
A quality external webcam is usually superior than any laptop's internal ones. If you are buying one for online lesson, the classic Logitech C920 is very well suited due to it's tripod mounting hole. The model has been out for many years and the price always got slashed during black friday on Amazon.
A tripod can be placed on the side of the piano and the display device in front of the player. In this configuration the student does not need to turn his or her head everytime during the lesson, making the experience much more smooth.
This additional setup won't cost a fortune and are highly recommanded. Just don't forget to add an external microphone 😉 Webcam's microphone is not satisfactory.
For lessons that hand postures are critical, it may be beneficial to setup overhead camera so the teacher can give better advices. To avoid complicated setup, the same Logitech C920 can be used in this scenario as an overhead camera.
For upright piano, overhead webcam can be mounted on a stand like the one on the right. For grand piano, a floor-stand would be needed.
PROFESSIONAL LEVEL SETUP
If you have old DSLR Camera, newer mirrorless Camera, audio interface / mixer, additional PC monitor, etc. We can provide more advices on professional setups for the best video / audio performance.