Piano Teacher | Online Piano Lessons

Tag: Zoom

Get Ready for Online Piano Lessons

Congratulations! You’re starting piano lessons with Dr. Lory. Your first lesson is coming up. Let’s get you ready by helping with the technical aspects of setting up the space in your home where you will practice and take lessons.


So that you and Dr. Lory can see and hear each other, you’re going to need some equipment, most of which you probably already have. Here’s a checklist:

  • Piano or Digital Keyboard
  • Faster Internet Service
  • Zoom App
  • Laptop or Tablet
  • Adjustable Stand
  • Lighting

Piano or Digital Keyboard

If you signed up for piano lessons, you probably already have a piano or digital keyboard. If not, don’t worry — Dr. Lory can help you decide what will work for you, based on your budget and your goals.

You can take online piano lessons on either an acoustic piano or digital keyboard. If you already have an acoustic piano, your piano will need to be in-tune and should also be regularly maintained. If you have an digital keyboard that you plan to use for piano lessons, it should have 88-weighted and touch-sensitive keys so that you can vary the volume of sound by touch. Your digital keyboard will also need at least one pedal — the damper or sustain pedal. A second pedal, the una corda or soft pedal, would be helpful. Acoustic pianos may also have a third pedal, as the diagram below shows.

No matter which kind of piano you use, it’s important that the instrument produces high-quality sound to keep you motivated.

Most grand pianos have three pedals as show above. Upright acoustic pianos may not have the sostenuto pedal. Digital keyboards must have the sustain pedal.

Faster Internet Service

You will be streaming high-quality audio and video in real-time during your lesson. So it’s important that you have a fast Internet connection for smooth and jitter-free video. Your lessons will be on Zoom, a very popular video streaming service. Zoom’s recommendations for one-to-one video calling, include both up and down internet speeds are shown below. We will assume that video quality will be 1080p, which requires the higher level of speeed:

  • For 720p HD video – 1.2Mbps (upload/download)
  • For 1080p HD video – 3.8Mbps/3.0Mbps (upload/download)

These are the minimum speed requirements for piano lessons on Zoom. But faster is always better in getting smooth, real-time video performance, so let’s check your Internet speed right now by using Speedtest. Click here and the press the big Go Button. Wait a few seconds and you’ll get both upload and download speeds at your location. You should also check your Internet speed from time to time in order to make sure your service provider is delivering promised data speeds to your location.

Installing and Setting Up Zoom

You will also need to install the Zoom app on your laptop computer or tablet. The app is free and you can download the version for your operating system right here. Do this instead of searching for the app on your device’s app store, which may have an older or non-official versions.

After downloading the app, click and install it on your device. If you need help installing Zoom, the company provides excellent support to help set up your particular device. Read this Zoom article for help installing and setting up your system to use Zoom.

Laptop or Tablet

To get the most from each lesson, you will need a computer or tablet with a larger screen. Dr. Lory uses four cameras to show you the keyboard and pedals from different angles so a bigger screen will let you see more. In addition, there is a piano keyboard right on the screen that lights up the keys as she plays them. During lessons, there will be printed music, as well as slides, videos, and audio, so the better the screen, the more you will get out of your lessons.

Set your camera or device so that both you and your keyboard are visible.

Adjustable Stand

The video and audio sent from Dr. Lory will be excellent, but she also needs to see and hear you in the best possible way from your location. An adjustable floor stand is a good solution if you are using a laptop or tablet. Your camera should be set up to the right of your keyboard, slightly higher than the keys. Tilt the device so that both you and the piano keys are in the video frame.


If you use Zoom or another video streaming service, you may already have a camera light to enhance your appearance. We suggest that you mount a video camera light on your device stand. The light will help Dr. Lory see you and your piano. If you don’t have a light, consider the overall brightness of your piano space. You may have to turn on lamps and open window coverings to bring in more outside light during lessons.


That’s it for setting up your piano space. In a future article, we will discuss some enhancements you can make to improve your sound quality, like setting up separate external microphones for your voice and piano.

Good luck with piano lessons!

Using Zoom for Piano Lessons

Lory Peters Ph.D.
Dr. Lory preparing for a piano lesson on Zoom.

You will use Zoom for your online piano lessons. Zoom is an online audio and video conferencing system used to conduct video conferencing meetings. While Zoom can be used to connect hundreds of participants, in this case, there will be only two — you and Dr. Lory.

If you haven’t used Zoom before, here is a brief introduction to using Zoom for your piano lesson. You will need the following:

  • Tablet (Android or iPadOS) or Computer (Laptop or Desktop)
  • Web Camera
  • The Zoom App
  • Table or Stand for Your Device
  • Good Lighting

Tablet or Computer

You will need a tablet or computer for piano lessons. The larger the screen, the more you will see from Dr. Lory as she demonstrates concepts on her piano. Using your phone for piano lessons is not advised. For tablets, either an Android or iPadOS device will work. Your computer can use any modern system, such as Windows, MacOS, or Linux.

Web Camera

Your tablet will already have a camera installed. This should work very well for piano lessons. Most laptops also have a built-in camera that should work. If you are using a desktop computer, you may also have a built-in web camera. If not, you can use an external web camera that plugs into one of your computer’s USB ports. Check your system settings to make sure that the external camera is recognized by the computer.

The Zoom App

You will need to download and install the free Zoom app for your device. For Windows and MacOS laptops and desktop computers, you can download the Zoom app from the Zoom Download Center. For Linux computers, click here. If you are using a tablet for piano lessons, visit your device’s app store.

On your tablet, the Zoom app should install automatically once it has been downloaded. If you are using a computer, find the downloaded Zoom app (usually in your Downloads folder or on your Desktop) and click or double-click to install it. Follow the instructions during setup.

Launch the Zoom App

Before lesson time, tap or click the Zoom app to open it. For this demonstration, we are using the iPad version, but the process works the same for all tablets and computers.

When you open the Zoom app, you will see this screen. Tap the blue Join Meeting button.

After the app opens, you will be asked to type in the meeting ID for your piano lesson. Dr. Lory will have provided that link to you before your lesson. You will also type in your name where shown. After your first lesson, these settings should automatically appear. Do not tap the toggles below the Join button. This will disable audio and video. You don’t want that. Tap the blue Join button to continue.

You will enter the Personal Meeting Room. You may have to wait here for a minute or two if Dr. Lory is finishing up with another student. When the previous student leaves his or her call, you will start your lesson.

And that’s it. You should now be in your piano lesson. You and Dr. Lory will check to make sure that your camera and sound are working. Keep your phone handy in case their are technical issues that require you to talk together outside of the Zoom app. Problems are rare and they usually involve checking to see that audio sources are turned on.

Table or Stand

Unlike a face-to-face video call, where only your face might be seen on camera, for piano lessons, you will need to set up your device so that Dr. Lory can see both you and your hands on the piano keys. A table or floor stand to the right of your piano will work best. Here is a diagram of the ideal position for your web camera. The camera should be above the keyboard and tilted slightly down.

Position your device or camera to the right and above the keyboard so that I can see both you and your hands on the keys.

Online stores like Newegg and B&H Photo offer a variety of floor stands that can hold a tablet or laptop. The stand can be easily moved and the device tilted so that both you and your piano are on-camera during the lessons.


Dr. Lory’s studio will be well-lit and you should see everything clearly. To make sure she can see you, be sure to light your room well. A light on you and a lamp or two in the room will usually be enough. Light from the outside can also help, but if it’s a sunny day at your location, you may need to adjust curtains or blinds. You will learn what works after your first lesson or two.


Our experience with the Zoom system goes back about five years and has been very positive for online piano lessons. Zoom updates their app regularly, so be sure to accept and install the updates as they arrive. Also, be sure that your Internet speed is as fast as possible for best video streaming performance. If you aren’t sure just how fast your online speed is, you can quickly check on the Speedtest website.

If you have questions, be sure to Contact Us by email. We are here to help you get the best results from your online piano lessons with Dr. Lory.

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