Are Online Violin Lessons Right For You?
Albert Einstein once asked: “A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?”
One can only assume you’ll need to learn to play the violin to find the happiness he spoke of.
Luckily, the internet has made it easy for almost anyone to learn to play thanks to online violin lessons, but the question is: Are online lessons the best fit for you?
Types of online violin lessons
When people speak of online lessons they’re referring to the hours of video tutorials available online on video streaming sites like YouTube.
While these offer the convenience of taking a lesson whenever you feel like it and working at your own pace, they won’t be tailored for you, which could result in picking up bad habits that might be difficult to shake later.
The same can be said for the plethora of mobile apps and written guides available.
With online tutoring, however, you’ll have access to a dedicated tutor who can teach you online violin lessons using platforms like Skype or FaceTime, anywhere and at any time.
Advantages of online violin lessons
With the rushed pace of the 21st Century, anything that offers convenience is always a good option. This is something online lessons offer in abundance.
With easy accessibility and the ability to take lessons from home, you’ll have no excuse for not making it to a class.
As Musicmonde, The Worldwide Music School points out online music lessons give you the option of learning violin lessons without the stress of commuting with your instrument.
This factor is particularly helpful for parents who need to juggle their children’s activities and transport them between different lessons.
Online violin lessons are made to fit into your schedule.
Students living in remote areas also now have the option of taking online violin lessons, where they may have been hampered by the proximity of a suitable tutor in the past.
SHAR Music points out that a good relationship between student and teacher is critical to a student’s success. When you aren’t restricted by location, you have the opportunity to find a music teacher that’s a perfect fit for you.
This also means you’ll be able to find a tutor who teaches the specific style or genre you’d prefer to play.
An added bonus of online violin lessons is the ability to record your lessons for practice sessions later. Now you’ll never have to worry about not taking enough notes or missing any great tips.
Despite all it’s advantages, online violin lessons are usually cheaper than traditional private lessons. According to SHAR, this is because the “cost per class” is lower.
There are no transport costs involved for either the student or the teacher and the teacher wouldn’t need to hire a space to conduct the lesson.
While you need a decent webcam and microphone, most new desktop and laptop computers come standard with these tools, so your only equipment expense should be your instrument.
This is why Musical U says online violin lessons are a good option for students who want to learn a new instrument without spending a fortune.
Disadvantages of online violin lessons
Whether you’re watching video tutorials or learning from a tutor, the biggest disadvantage of online violin lessons is the lack of physical guidance.
Piano teacher Bella Payne says it’s sometimes difficult to demonstrate or describe to a student online how to change something when she notices problems with their technique.
Correct posture and grip are essential when learning to play the violin, but with proper communication, this can be explained, instead of adjusted, in an online lesson.
Another possible drawback is poor sound quality. Payne uses a digital keyboard and microphone when giving lessons, which she says gives her students a nice sound, but she wishes the sound quality could be better on her end.
LessonRating.com add that it could be difficult for your instructor to hear the sound you are producing accurately, and sometimes they might even have to deal with a sound delay if you have any latency on your internet line.
To avoid this, you may want to consider using an electric violin for online lessons.
Payne finds her inability to make notes on a student’s sheet music while she’s teaching somewhat frustrating. LessonRating.com adds that this makes assignments or tests difficult to orchestrate.
Although they suggest doing these verbally, music theory notes will have to be scanned and emailed to and fro between the student and teacher.
If you’ve decided to learn through pre-recorded video tutorials, you may find motivation to be a problem.
Without a tutor, you’ll have no one to hold you accountable for skipping lessons when life gets too busy or you just don’t feel like it. Skip a few and you’ll find it difficult to get back on track.
Taking lessons with an online tutor will help you stick to a schedule and keep learning.
So, how do you get started?
In a nutshell: you’ll need a decent internet connection, a webcam and your instrument.
TakeLessons.com suggest that you should have a broadband connection with at least 400 kbps internet speed. Most broadband internet connections are faster than this, but it’s worth checking yours, just in case.
If your desktop or laptop doesn’t have a built-in webcam, you can usually pick one up at an affordable price.
You’ll probably also need a Skype account, which you can set up for free.
Take the time to do some research before you pick a tutor to make sure you find someone who you can work well with. There are many sites like TakeLessons.com or LessonRating.com who can help you find one.
Then, there’s your instrument. You can use Music Advisor’s latest buyer’s guide to help you decide which violin to buy.
A final note on online violin lessons
Whenever you decide to learn a new skill, it’s important that you find a method that works for you.
Private online tutoring offers students the best of online convenience combined with a traditional approach.