With the coronavirus pandemic, the online community has come together to support teachers moving their studios from in-person lessons to teaching online. This is a continually growing list of resources available to teachers.
Please help build the list by letting me know options I’ve missed! I am working frantically behind the scenes trying to get this updated so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Communicating the Transition
If you have never taught online or using 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 they are going to provide continuity for their children when schools &/or extra-curricular activities are cancelled.
Moving lessons online provides continuity & 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
- Helping special needs students adjust to online lessons
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.
- 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.
- Clients mail in payments: No tech needed, but can take awhile 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 typically 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.
Equipment & Tutorials
Online platforms & tools:
- Zoom: free plan, 1-on-1 lessons have a 24-hour time limit, group lessons can be up to 40 minutes
- 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. 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 this a 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 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 over-head view of keyboard!
- Teaching Piano During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Recent 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.
- Coming soon:
- My hand signals for online lessons: You won’t always hear each other so hand signals work well!
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 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.
- 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.
- How to compose with students online … when you want to do this over several weeks. Great recital project!
- 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. They just released Easter-themed note-reading printables you have permission to email.
- 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: If you are not quite completely online yet, Susan released a printable “Safety Notice” for your studio door. She has many other resources, but you will need to see if they are okay for emailing.
- Top Music Co: If you are a member of Tim Topham’s Inner Circle there are so many resources, including an emergency course on moving your studio online. However, if you are not a member there are free trainings as well, including “No Book Beginners“. Having gone through this I can say that you can easily adapt this to your current students 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.
Several publishers have changed the user license to allow their music to be shared electronically. These are the publishers that have allowed this:
- 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.
- Wendy Stevens/Compose Create: Music, Rhythm Menagerie/Manipulations/Cup Explorations are all included up until May 31, 2020. Audio tracks are not included in the licensing change.
- Piano Safari has made all teacher accompaniment tracks available for purchase on their site.
Music Lab resources:
Yes! You can keep lab going even through this time.
- 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.
- Free sample coming soon!
- 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.
There is very little online that is specifically about online group lessons. However, this is what I have found out & would recommend.
- Zoom: Free plan allows for up to 100 participants/devices for up to 40 minutes.
- 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.
- 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 favourite at group lesson. Students can use their own device at home once they have the gameshow-like quiz code.
- Planboard: Easily create practice page ahead of time & then send 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.
- How to Host an Online Recital: Jennifer Boster over The Playful Piano shares how she moved her recital online.
- The only tweak from the article will be for duets. My plan is to record my 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: types & how to sell it to your clients
- 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
- Another option that I am considering:
- Host an online watch party to keep the sense of community during the ‘event’. Article coming soon on how I will be doing this!
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.
Training for You
If you are looking for more help in transitioning to online lessons, there is some training available online.
- Teach Music Online: Carly Walton has graciously put her “Teach Music Online” course at pay what you can pricing! She has also included a FREE Online Teaching Starter Kit which includes a mini course.
- The Frances Clark Centre: There are a series of online webinars focused on online teaching being held throughout April.
- MusicEdConnect: “You Can Do This!: Beyond the Set Up of Online Teaching” 1-day online conference on March 28. It is free for full access members. If you would like access, not a problem. You will get access to all sessions from the main conference & this one as well.
- MTNA: Even though the in-person conference was cancelled, they have created an online version of the conference for current members.
- 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.