The age of virtual music lessons is here. And the biggest questions I hear again and again are: How do online lessons work? AND Will I get as much out of online lessons as I would in-person lessons? Before you sign up for voice lessons, let’s take an honest look at the benefits and challenges of online singing lessons to see if they work for you.
SIX IMPORTANT BENEFITS OF ONLINE VOICE LESSONS
ACCESS TO THE BEST TEACHING: I believe it is better to have lessons over the internet with an excellent voice teacher than it is to have in-person lessons with an average teacher. The internet gives students more options to choose from when looking for a teacher since they are not restricted to their local region. You can expand your pool of potential teachers in other parts of the country and even other parts of the world. Especially if you’re wanting to learn how to sing ROCK music, chances are pretty slim that you will find a vocal coach in the area that specializes in rock vocal techniques. But with online lessons you don’t have to settle with an average teacher – ever.
LESS WASTED MONEY: Lessons online mean you don’t have the cost of traveling to and from lessons. Students going to in-person lessons sometime spend as much as 30 to 40 minutes driving back and forth from their teacher’s studio costing them both the added time and energy traveling back and forth. You also reduce the chance of having to pay for missed lessons. Say a student is taking lessons face-to face and forgets his lesson. He receives a reminder text, but even if he lives 15 minutes away he usually will have to pay a late fee or even a no-show fee. But if you’re a student taking online lessons, you receive the same reminder text and are usually able to hop right in to the lesson. Overall online lessons end up costing less in money, time, and energy.
LESS OFF-TASK BEHAVIORS: According to a recent study on distance music learning, off-task behaviors took up 36% more time in face-to-face lessons than in online lessons. To give some context, let’s say you have a typical 60 minute lesson – an in-person student will usually only end up walking away with just less than 40 minutes of concentrated training. With my own students both face-to and online, I strive to pack in as much useful knowledge in an hour. However, with online students, I notice that it is much easier to jump right into the learning with fewer distractions and non-relevant conversations.
INCREASED PERFORMANCE TIME: The same study I mentioned above states that online students spend 22%more time performing in lessons than face-to-face students. I have noticed this as well with my own students. I pride myself in solid, actionable rock technique both in-person and online. But something interesting I found with my online voice lessons is that we go over more techniques, more repetitions, and even have more time to sing though songs. Increased in-lesson training means that some singing challenges such as tension, strain, breathiness are more quickly diagnosed and overcome. Simply put, each 60 minute online lessons feels like I’ve taught for 90 minutes!
EASE & QUALITY OF RECORDED LESSONS: Recorded lessons are a huge resource in between lessons to jog your memory on how to implement certain techniques. While face-to-face students also have the option to record their lessons, the ease of recording and increased off-task behaviors makes it rarely happen. With a click of a button and the increased focus on subject matter, online lessons offer an easy, high quality reference on how to perform the exercises from the lesson.
IMMEDIATE PRACTICING: I’ve debated about whether I should mention this as a benefit. I decided to do so because many of my distance students have the tendency to practice while everything is still fresh, right after the lesson is over. On the other hand, my face-to-face students have a much more difficult time doing so. They have to drive home and before they know it, the day-to-day takes over. Sometimes they end up not practicing until a few days later – or worse, wait until next week right before their lesson. It is proven that the more you practice, the faster you will improve. And if you are able to practice right after your lessons, it’s like an easily won bonus practice session!
SAME BENEFITS AS IN-PERSONS LESSONS
I think it’s important to mention that online students receive the same benefits as face-to-face students – such as: immediate feedback, teacher modeling, singing through songs, and complete lesson notes and training exercises.
While online vocal lessons are a creative way to learn to sing, I have to be honest, they are not for everyone. The following are five things to consider before deciding whether vocal lessons online will work for you.
INTERNET CONNECTINO: First and most importantly, you must have a fast internet connection. Spotty service, a low bandwidth, or having to share internet with a household can all effect how well you are able to connect to your voice lesson. Lessons through Skype are said to feel like you’re in the same room, but for this to happen your internet needs to be up to speed. I should mention that you don’t have to be at a desktop computer, several of my students have done their lessons over their smartphone with great connection.
DISTRACTIONS: Another important consideration is whether you will be more distracted in your home environment by roommates, siblings, neighbors, etc. In addition to distractions, you want to be in a place where you feel comfortable to do the exercises at the necessary volume without feeling you need to restrain yourself. Finding a time and place where you can sing undisturbed for an hour is the key to being able to train effectively.
SKILL LEVEL: You will have to be honest with yourself here. I’ve worked with all skill levels from the very beginner to signed artists. What I have found from my experience is that those that do the best with online lessons are self-directed learners. Intermediate to advanced learners also excel in lessons online because many of the habits of training have already been established. This is not to say that you cannot learn if you are a beginner aspiring to learn how to sing. You just need to be honest with yourself if you’d feel more comfortable with a vocal coach face-to-face.
MICROPHONE: I’ll mention this because having a microphone is still a necessity, but you don’t need a fancy microphone from the music store. Most computer microphones are more than adequate to be able to relay accurately how you are singing through the techniques.
STANDING SETUP: Finally, you will want to arrange your setup so that you can stand or have very good posture. It’s not something I’ve ever seen hold a student back from online lessons, but it is important that we recognize that our temptation with using a computer or smart phone could be to slouch, which doesn’t allow you the proper physical support.
SING WITH POWER WHEREVER YOU ARE
With the proper setup, it really does feel like you are in the same room together. I’ve been teaching online voice lessons for several years now, and over 70% of my students are online and we are getting amazing results (Get a sneak peak of my teaching style). Now, I really can meet you wherever you are!