Online Coachings Set-up & Guidelines
Everything you need to know to get started online with me!
1) My preferred online lesson platform is https://zoom.us for its audio and video quality.
It is preferred for you to run it on a computer (desktop or laptop), but the app can work on a tablet or phone as well. The platform behaves better on computer, has more sound options and the bigger screen is preferable for our purpose.
For those of you on Mac products, Facetime would be a good second option.
You must have a reliable internet connection for online lessons to work.
Wired internet connection is preferable.
If on wifi, reduce bandwidth usage on your network (no Netflix, gaming or downloading at the same time as your lesson) and set-up your device as close as possible to the router.
Always close ALL other programs and apps as these are using background memory and bandwidth. This is ESPECIALLY important on simpler machines like Chromebook and iPad, they just don’t have the CPU power to handle video conferencing well!
And yes, we can get interferences from being to close to an electrical box or the microwave!
Internet Speed can also make a big difference. You can check your https://speedtest.net.
2) You can use the Zoom platform and join our meetings in two easy steps:
Step 1: Download the app & create an account (free). Ahead of our lesson, download and install the Zoom application. On your computer, go to https://zoom.us/download and click on the blue download button under “Zoom Client For Meetings”. Follow the install instructions. Create an account (free).
You can also download the app for your mobile device on the App Store and Google Play.
Step 2: You will receive an email confirmation of your lesson (at time of booking, 24 hours and 1 hour before) containing a Zoom link. At time of lesson, click on the link and follow the instructions on the next two screens. I will accept you in the meeting when I am ready.
If you join early and I am still busy finishing another lesson, you’ll be put in a “Waiting Room” until I admit you. My teaching schedule can be tight, rest assured that I’m just finishing up with another student and will be with you shortly. Use this time to organize your music.
1) You will need two devices: one to host the call (desktop/laptop) and one to play back your accompaniment tracks (phone or iPad). You cannot play your accompaniment on the same device as the call, it will distort the sound.
Tip: if your device is not loud enough and you don’t have a speaker to plug into, stick your phone in an empty ceramic coffee mug. It will amplify it plenty. I swear it works! :)
We need to use tracks because I cannot accompany you in real time due to delays and lagging problems: the singing and the accompaniment have to come from the same side of the call (yours!). I will do my best to keep up and emailing accompaniment tracks ahead of time and before the lesson when needed.
2) You DO NOT need a mic, but you MAY need headphones (wired preferable).
Your desktop/laptop microphone should suffice and headphones will prevent sound looping should that happen. (See suggestions below if you feel like investing in a good mic, which would improve greatly our online experience!)
Never sing directly into the microphone, it may create more distortion and clipping. If issues come up, back up at least 3-5 feet from the computer or laptop and/or sing off-axis. Singing in a bigger room will also help from overwhelming your mic. You may need to adjust the volume of your speakers as well to prevent looping, or use headphones if problem persists.
Tip: if using a cellphone, I recommend using a tripod rather than having the phone rest on desk/shelf for better sound. And use it horizontally for wide viewing, so I can see you better!
Reminder: your mic will pick up all background noise and so, a quiet environment is best!
3) Please arrange for the camera to be at eye level as much as possible, so that you do not have to look down and can keep good posture/alignment. Step away from the computer so that I can see you from the waist up, sitting or standing.
4) Keep your device plugged into the power source. We don’t want the battery dying during the session!
5) Have your music binder on hand, pencil, straw, water with you and ready to go. Whatever you need for an in-person lesson, you’ll need for an online lesson.
6) For younger students, I ask for you to set up your lesson space in a common, well-trafficked area of your house. If the set-up is in your bedroom, please keep your door open. I want to be able to say hello to mom or dad at the beginning and end of your lesson.
1) The flow of online lessons is different from an in-person lesson. Most platforms only allow for one person to talk/sing/play at a time; we cannot make sound at the same time. This means that the way I will interact with you might be a little different than what you’re used to for in-person coachings. We’ll communicate a lot more with gestures and body language instead of words.
2) There is less room for spontaneity in online lessons. If we want to be productive, we have to plan ahead. This means words, sheet music and tracks ready to go. Make a plan for what you want out of your online coaching!
Now Let's sing!
Other Lessons Material Resources
USEFUL RESOURCES FOR VOCAL EXERCISES
https://www.appcompanist.com : a great resource of vocal exercises and transposable accompaniment tracks for musical theatre singers. Basic download and use of vocal exercises is free.
USEFUL RESOURCES FOR TRACKS
https://karaoke-version.com: great sounding tracks for pop music, cheap! I have an account and can buy whatever song you’d like to work on for you.
https://pianotrax.com : another resource for musical theatre tracks. More expensive.
http://youtube.com : Of course countless accompaniment/karaoke tracks there. You may or may not be able to find the right track/key for you.