Teaching During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Dear current students/parents,
Due to the rise of cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK, and following advice from the government and the Musicians’ Union to help slow down the spread of the virus, I am temporarily stopping home-visit music lessons and instead using Skype/Zoom video calling to teach your lessons remotely.
Please read below for the software and equipment you will need for this.
Software Needed For Remote Lessons
My preferred method of remote teaching is Microsoft’s Skype software. This software is completely free for Skype-to-Skype video calling, and apps are available for Windows PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads and Android phones.
You can download it here: https://www.skype.com/en/get-skype/
Once you’ve downloaded it and made an account, add me as a contact. My Skype username is mattldsmith. Once we’re connected, we can begin a video call and start the lesson.
Alternatively, you do not need to download it or make an account, and I can send you a video call link which you can just open in your browser on a computer. Let me know if you'd prefer this.
You can also send files to me through the Skype chat – it would be very useful if you could send pictures of the music that we’ll be working on to me before the lesson starts.
Some people prefer to use Zoom for video calling. I have this too - it's very similar to Skype - and I can just send you an invite link before each lesson, no downloads or accounts needed. Let me know if you'd prefer this.
Please see the picture below for how to position yourself in the camera frame, so I can see your trombone slide or trumpet/euphonium valves. As brass instruments are loud, it’s best to face to the side of your device while playing so the microphone doesn’t distort (as in the picture below), and face your device when speaking so I can hear you clearly.
Equipment Needed For Remote Lessons
A computer/tablet/phone with Skype installed should be all you’ll need for remote lessons. A device with a bigger screen and louder speakers would be better, so if you do have a computer or tablet/iPad you can use, that would be better than a phone.
If the device has a “do not disturb” feature, please turn this on during lessons to avoid distractions.
If you have a microphone that you can plug into your device to increase sound quality, that would be great, but not essential. I will be using a microphone plugged into my laptop, so you should have good sound quality from me.
If you’d like to get a microphone to use, you can get a cheap but decent quality one here: Microphone. Again, this is not essential, and the built-in microphone on your device should be fine.
Do let me know if you need any help setting up the software or equipment for Skype/Zoom calling.
Please be in a communal space in your house during remote lessons (i.e. living room not bedroom).
Please be appropriately dressed during remote lessons (i.e. what you would wear for a normal home-visit lesson, not PJs).
For students under the age of 18, please use your parent’s Skype/Zoom account to video call me.
Parents are of course welcome to be in the room during all lessons (remote and home-visit).
If you have an ABRSM exam at the end of this month, as of the time of writing (13th March) these will still be going ahead. I will let you know straight away if this changes.
UPDATE (16th March): All exams from 18th March onward have unfortunately been cancelled.
Payment for remote lessons can be made by:
-Bank transfer (I’ll let you know my bank details)
-PayPal via this link: https://www.paypal.me/mattsmithmusiccouk.
So just to recap, I am temporarily stopping home-visit music lessons and instead using Skype/Zoom video calling to teach your lessons remotely, until the advice from Government changes.
Thanks to Elliot Corner for his advice in setting up remote teaching.
All the best,