Teaching online doesn’t need to be scary. And you certainly don’t have to figure out everything on your own! This is a continually growing list of teaching online resources available to teachers.
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Communicating the Transition
If you have never taught online or used video calling (FaceTime, Skype, etc.) it can feel a little intimidating. Especially the idea of getting parents on board with something new.
Just remember you are not the only one who is looking for direction right now. Parents are all wondering how this is all going to look.
Moving lessons online provides continuity regardless of what government regulations are in place, whether it’s cold/flu season & makes it possible for students to express their emotions (positive & negative) in a healthy way.
- Life in the Time of Coronavirus: What you can control & how to let go of what can’t. Plus, great advice even when we aren’t in the midst of a pandemic!
- What to Do When Parents Don’t Want to Be Online: Whether online is permanent or for in-emergency situations, it’s important to address parent concerns.
Teaching online resources should include the business side of things as well. Online teaching, video lessons or in-person. There are just different ways to deliver your music lessons.
Ways to accept tuition payments without being in person are:
- PayPal, Stripe, Square: easy to use & set up, but there is a processing fee
- Apple Cash & other ways to send money through your phone: There may or may not be a processing fee. Apple Cash is showing as only available in the U.S. (at the time of this update).
- QuickBooks* or other accounting software: May have an invoice feature though it depends on the tier. Payments are automatically deposited in your bank account after a small processing fee is deducted.
- I will earn a very small commission if you click through & make a purchase. There is no additional cost to you & it helps offset the cost of running this site & providing free resources.
- Clients mail-in payments: No tech needed, but it can take a while to get payment.
- Money e-transfer: Almost all banks allow this. No processing fee for you depending on your bank & account type.
Keep in mind that the links above are typical to the U.S. site, but you should be allowed to change the country.
Tech tends to be the area that many teachers are concerned about. Keep it simple! Even a cell phone works.
In fact, many of the apps you already use or have on your phone are a perfect fit for your “teaching online resources” list.
Online platforms & tools:
There are SO many online platforms out there now. Many of which are designed for music teachers! This means you can choose the one that fits your teaching style the best.
- Zoom: Free plan, 1-on-1 lessons have a 24-hour time limit, group lessons can be up to 40 minutes. There are paid plans that are reasonably priced as well.
- Musicology: This Canadian company also has great audio & it is possible to play duets with students, plus includes many of the features I have enjoyed with Zoom.
- Muzie: This is an all-in-one platform that creates a portal for your studio with the ability to record audio & video clips for students.
- Rock It Out Loud: This was an initial leader in the online teaching space for music teachers. The platform is consistently updated with teacher recommendations.
- Streamyard: This is not designed for music teachers, but includes a lot of customization during lessons. The audio is also quite good.
- Midnight Music: Katie Wardrobe is a great tech ideas & tutorials for music education. She has “5 tech tools you should consider”. These do focus on classroom teaching, but could be easily modified to your studio.
Video call options:
- FaceTime: Seems to have the best connection, but both student & teacher need an Apple device (ie. iPhone, iPad, really any “i” product with an apple on it that has video capability)
- Skype: Free app that can be downloaded on any device. The advantage is that you can share your computer screen or change the camera view.
- Google Hangouts: I’ve not used this option, but my kids have informed me of this popular school option. You will need to be on a Chrome browser to get the full effect.
- WhatsApp: Free app that can be downloaded on any device. I have not had great luck with the video & audio quality. It really lags.
- Online checklists for students & teacher, plus video checklist for the teacher. Scroll down to course outline to access.
- Jennifer Foxx has generously made these publicly available from her teaching online course. These will not stay free forever as they are part of a paid course.
- Online setup for under $100 using Zoom … includes an overhead view of the keyboard!
- Teaching Piano During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Article by Joy Morin on how she has set up FaceTime/Skype lessons with either a cell phone or laptop.
- How to Have Students Text Using Your Email Address: Students & parents can text you pictures or videos without having your cell phone number so you can keep this private.
- Adding documents to Google Drive: This makes it easy to send documents or share a folder with students/parents that contains assignments for the student.
- Need to make a screen recording (iOS)? If students will be using an app outside of lessons, a video tutorial is quick & easy.
- The Curious Piano Teachers: Many teachers are sharing their setup for online lessons. Dr. Sally Cathcart shares her setup & what you need for the basics in their post.
- Melody Payne: Her journey & tips to teaching online, including her setup.
Online Teaching Tools
Many companies are releasing resources that can be emailed directly to students. And others have either increased their free account limits or created free accounts.
Lesson plan platforms:
- Planboard: This has been my go-to for years. There is a free plan & it is easy to set up. You can create templates for your lesson plans. It’s easy to add video/audio/pictures/documents to lesson plans. Very easy to send lesson plans as PDFs at the end of the lesson & it will keep the links included.
- Tonara: I have not used this one, but have heard really great things about it. Has the added benefit that students are able to upload video into their profile for you to watch.
- MyMusicStaff: Has many of the same capabilities of Tonara & I’ve heard great things about it as well.
- Kahoot: Create gameshow-like quizzes that students can do on their own. Keep in mind the link for students is slightly different.
- They are currently offering Kahoot! Premium free to eligible schools. Homeschoolers are encouraged to apply so perhaps we could as well?
- PlayPosit: Free account available & it has been extended to ensure more learners than your studio (probably) has.
- Your Classical: Daily activities include listening to musical selections, creating musical instruments, learning about instruments, storytimes & more. Even includes the approximate grade level for activities in the “Classical Kids” section.
Handling Lesson Admin
- Maximizing Effectiveness During Online Music Lessons: There are ways to teach effectively & efficiently online. Find out my tips & tricks!
- Reduce Prep Time: No one wants to spend more time than necessary on prep. These tips will help you make online prep less intensive.
- Choosing the Best Resources: There are special considerations to take in once you’ve moved online.
- How to compose with students online … when you want to do this over several weeks. Great recital project!
- How to Move Your Music Lab Online: This is a great way to add value to your tuition & can be an important part of your programming!
- 5 Ways Practice: Encourage students to practice in new ways with the “5 Ways” series. I am giving you permission to email these to your students at this time.
- Online Music Activities: FREE PDF through this site. I would recommend checking the “articles” link so you get even more value.
- TeachPianoToday & Wunderkeys: Andrea & Trevor Dow have long provided free resources for teachers. If you are registered with “Growing With Wunderkeys” (free) you get access to even more resources.
- Color in my Piano: Joy Morin has a music symbol PNG file that can be used to make your own worksheets … or add rhythms to your practice pages which can be emailed to students.
- Susan Paradis: Susan has many resources on her site, but you will need to see if they are okay to email to clients.
- TopMusic Co: TopMusicPro has plenty of resources, including an emergency course on moving your studio online. If you are not a member, access free training including “No Book Beginners“. This particular resource is easily adapt to online teaching regardless of the level.
- Music Educator Resources: Jennifer Foxx is one of the main people I learnt from when I was adding more technology to my studio. She has also included an article on video lessons through Tonara.
- Leila Viss: Leila has many great resources, including the “Get Inspired” series.
The publishers that allow you to share resources electronically are:
- Rosemarie Penner: Sam’s Walk & other music released in the next weeks.
- Making Music Fun: Lots of free music. Send students/parents the link to print off the music.
- Piano Safari has made all teacher accompaniment tracks available for purchase on their site.
Music Lab Resources
Yes! You can keep your music lab going even when moving lessons online.
- How to move your music lab online … without students needing to purchase a bunch of apps.
- Digital Escape Room (tutorial): I was fascinated & my students LOVE it. This is currently what I am using for lab time.
- To purchase ready-made digital escape rooms, click here.
- Music Around the World! A series of assignments for students that take them all over the world. There are some assignments that require the purchase of apps. But, you could let students know those are not necessary to complete if you would prefer to not have parents purchase anything extra at this time.
- Notability: This would be a purchase for parents, but it does make it easy for students to mark up all sorts of documents or create something to send you.
- Students could use the Markup feature on their iDevice instead, but it would need to be completed in one go.
- Online Music Activities: FREE PDF through this site. Would recommend checking the “articles” link so you get even more value.
- Piano Pantry: Amy Chaplin has included 4 sets of music theory lessons for your students during lab time!
- Teachers Pay Teachers: Many sellers have reduced or even made free resources to help teachers transition to online lessons.
My students spoke loud & clear … they still wanted group lessons when we were online.
- Zoom: Free plan allows for up to 100 participants/devices for up to 40 minutes. The paid plan is reasonably priced & ensures you can do group lessons without
- For starting out, I would recommend Zoom because it is easy to schedule regular lessons & you can easily turn on the microphone/video for each student throughout the lesson.
- The Best Online Group Lesson Ideas For Music Studios: Get some of the best ideas I’ve used in my studio.
- Click here for some Halloween-themed ideas!
- Keys to Imagination: Online games that can be played by multiple students simultaneously! I have played some of these games at MusicEdConnect & they are seriously fun!
- Kahoot: This is always a student’s favourite at the group lesson. Students can use their own devices at home once they have the gameshow quiz code.
- Planboard: Easily create the practice page ahead of time & then send it to all students.
- Google … Everything: Create folders with materials for students that they can access, use Forms to create assignments that can be completed by all students in a group lesson. Because you see edits to everything live this can work well.
This is something that I think is a must for an online studio. Community is important if we want to keep students motivated & staying with us from year to year.
- What type of recital is best for your studio? That depends. And, will influence the way in which you plan & host your recital.
- How to Host an Online Recital: Jennifer Boster over The Playful Piano shares how she moved her recital online.
- Unless the platform you are using works for duets, record your part & send it to the student. For the recital recording, they can use one device to play your part while they play on the piano.
- How to Host a Virtual Recital: This is part of series sharing all my process in planning a virtual recital.
- The Nitty Gritty Details in Planning a Virtual Recital: Includes the checklists I am using for before, during, & after the recital.
- Easy Tech Tips for Your Next Virtual Recital: All the tech tips that will keep your event running smoothly
Moving your studio registration does not need to be complicated. Here are tips & tricks to keep your studio lessons going.
- How to Handle Studio Registration Online: Easy tweaks to get your registration process moved online.
Teaching Special Learners Online
Yes, you can teach students that are neurodiverse or have special learner needs online. This was one of the areas I had to figure out fast when I first moved online. And, it’s worked out well for all members of my studio!
- Adapting Online Group Lessons For Special Learners: You absolutely can & should have special learners attend group lessons if they would like to attend.
- Helping special needs students adjust to online lessons.
Training for You
If you are looking for more help in transitioning to online lessons, there is some training available online.
- Cool Cat Teacher: Vicki Davis has long been one of my favourites. She is a technology teacher in the school system & has fabulous ideas on how to use technology in new ways!
- NoteFlight: While these resources are more geared towards classroom teachers, there are still good ideas on the site.
UPDATED: July 16, 2021