Are Online Music Lessons Inferior to In-Studio Lessons?

Many people perceive online lessons as being inferior to in-studio, but is this true? 

Social distancing has required our studio to rapidly switch to online music and voice lessons, at least for the immediate future. Over the few weeks that we’ve been giving them, both our instructors and students have adapted very well to the changes that online learning require. Let’s look at the differences that instructors and students need to make for online, and if or how they impact the effectiveness of lessons.
For instructors, online lessons require more prep time, and this is good. With the lag that comes with an internet connection, it’s not possible for a student and instructor to play together, so more of the lesson deals with actual instruction.
Instructors also need to pay very close attention to critique their students, which again is good. As the audio isn’t always ideal, as a guitar instructor I find myself watching my students hands very closely, as it’s not possible to hear everything over the connection like it is in person.
As performing together isn’t possible, more time is spent on actual learning, which again is good. I find that my online lessons usually have several actual learning objectives, which is beneficial for the student.
For students, from a learning perspective the major difference we see is that a student needs a better sense of engagement with online lessons, which is a huge benefit. Instructors will be demonstrating techniques and expecting their students to observe and ‘do’. So how does this differ from in-studio? Since students and instructors can’t play together, this back-and-forth continues for the entire lesson, which requires a great deal of concentration and engagement from the student.
Lastly, since students and instructors can’t perform together, students are under (self-inflicted) pressure as they perform their pieces on their own, which means that students prepare more for their lessons. Most students want to impress their instructors with their skills, and they’ll practice harder when they know the spotlight is on them.
So there you have it. Online vs. in-studio lessons are very much a different experience, but overall it’s been our experience that, outside of the usual benefits (no travel time, more flexible lesson scheduling, etc), we find that online music lessons are at least as, if not more effective than in-studio for the reasons above.
That said, most students and instructors prefer traditional in-studio lessons as they are more relaxed, they allow performing together, and less stressful for both the students and instructors.
If you are ready for online (or in-studio) lessons, see more on our offerings HERE.
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