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.

Lighting

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.

Conclusion

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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