How to Move Your Music Lab Online

Music lab tends to be inherently technology based though it can also include many hands-on elements as well.  But what happens when you need to move your music lab online?

Music lab is one of the best things I added into my studio.  Not only did we suddenly have time for all the things we didn’t have time for in lesson, students were eager to practice musical concepts.  And, being able to increase my tuition rate to cover this new programming didn’t hurt either.

But, I learnt the first year that you always need a plan for when you & your student are not in the same physical location. 

I had a family that year that seemed to catch every single virus that went through the city.  Which meant we did a lot of FaceTime lessons & all the apps they would have used on my iPad were suddenly not available.  While the parents were willing to purchase some apps, they were understandably not on board with purchasing all the apps there kids would have used with me in lesson.  I needed a new plan.

Moving Quickly

It seems like when you have to move aspects of your studio online (or even the whole kit & caboodle), it needs to happen quickly.

Whether it is a student who is sick & this is a one-off circumstance, a family is going on vacation & won’t have access to a piano, or there is a pandemic that requires everyone to practice social distancing, you may only have hours to move your music lab online.

Which leads me to …

Making it Easy

In any of the situations above, the parents are not going to want to spend hours figuring out how to make what you sent work.  As far as they are concerned, that’s your job.

But it can also be a stressful situation for you.  So, I recommend keeping it easy for you as well.

Step 1:

The first step is to let go of preconceived notions of what music lab in your studio typically looks like.

Studies have shown that stress causes people to problem solve with a narrow viewpoint.  

In other words, when you are stressed & overwhelmed your solutions will be less creative.

Step 2:

The second step is to take inventory of what you and your students do have access to.  

If your student doesn’t have any access to technology … well, unfortunately this article is not for you.  But, you could print off activities & mail/drop off physical packets for the student to use then follow up by phone.

Think about what your students already use through school to make the transition even easier.

Then add website options that include age appropriate content with (hopefully) no to little ads.  This will make parents of younger children happier since they won’t worry about what their child may inadvertently see.

Perhaps you may need to change the current topic to music history, active listening or composer spotlights. 

Moving your music lab online means working with what is easily available.

Once you are set up & everyone is comfortable, then feel free to add something new.

Instead of focusing on what you are losing, think about how you can best use the resources you have on hand.  No idea is a bad one as you brainstorm.

Step 3:

Let parents & students know the plan you have created.  Be concise, but include the info they need to know.

  • Login/passwords if necessary
  • Links to anything they need
  • Short tutorials for each program they will be using
    • How to login in & access materials
    • How to use the program
    • What to do if they have questions

You are the expert. 

Even if behind the scenes you are figuring it out … sometimes only 1 step ahead of your clients. 

Your clients & students need you to guide them. 

Otherwise they may wonder why they are paying “full price” for lessons & music lab online.  Even though you & I both know it is much more work behind the scenes.

Cost Involved

Recently, like many other teachers at this point, I had to move my entire studio online.  And, I knew that I had expenses coming up that were non-negotiable.  In other words, I needed the least expensive solution to move my studio online with less than 48 hours prep time.

After going through the steps above & researching all my options, I came up with something that would let me move music lab online quickly, easily & for free!

Google Drive.

Why, Google Drive?

  • Almost all my students already use Google Classroom through school.
  • The way it is set-up is very user friendly.
  • The Google Suite apps are similar to Microsoft or Mac users alike. 
    • The differences between using Sheets, Word & Pages are not huge & often share the same or similar shortcut keys.
  • Shared folders that update in real time.
  • It’s free.
  • Does not require yet another password for students or parents to remember.
  • Accessible on almost any device.

This isn’t to say that you couldn’t use OneDrive, Dropbox, or another online storage system.  Or, even Evernote if you plan on using worksheets with links.

But, the drawback is that they don’t necessarily include all the other programs that Drive already has linked … like those YouTube videos that will probably be shared with great frequency.

Plus, the price just can’t be beat.  The free plan includes a decent amount of storage that will take care of moving your music lab online.

Moving Your Music Lab Online

Moving online can be stressful, but with the steps above it can become the next best iteration of your studio!

Brand new to online

If you are feeling nervous about moving anything online, let alone music lab, I am here to help.

The first step is creating folders & adding documents to a shared folder.

For a tutorial on how to do this in Google Drive, watch below.

The next step is the “Share” the folder with your client. You could email the link (as shown in the tutorial) or press “Share” which is at the top of the options list.

You want to make sure that whomever has the link can “Edit” … otherwise you are sending some lovely documents to look at & no way of using them.

Activities for Music Lab Online

There are so many options for assignments online!  It just takes being open to the possibilities.  Much like when we are creating our own interpretation of a piece as we play it.

If you would like more ideas for your music lab online that are free, easy to use & don’t necessarily require your student to be at a piano, click below.

FREE Online Music Activities PDF


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