Think I can’t teach you if you’re muted? Think again!
In March 2020 when the world stopped, I started to run online melodeon classes for the North East Melodeon Group. That worked so well for everyone, the feedback was great. This prompted me to set up my Patreon Melinars (click here to replay a free Melinar). I also moved my ‘in-person’ Halsway classes online throughout the pandemic from March 2020-July 2021. I handed over in-person classes to Archie Churchill-Moss in September 2021.
Having taught 1-2-1 melodeon lessons online for several years pre-pandemic, I wasn’t new to this method of teaching. However, many of my musical peers were thrown in the deep end. I wrote a blog for music teachers new to online platforms, and created a course for teachers wanting to take their music teaching business online.
(Click on the hyperlinks to read more about both of these if you fancy).
Up until March 2020, my go-to platform for online teaching had been Skype (even with all its bug workarounds!). With the increased popularity of Zoom, and in the spirit of a new normal, I decided to try something new.
Zoom made online melodeon lessons so much better.
Both for 1-2-1 lessons and online melodeon classes, I discovered Zoom was far superior (and less buggy!) than Skype. With its original sound mode, high fidelity music settings, and recording functions, there is a lot more useful functionality.
Muting participants is essential when teaching online melodeon classes. Unless, of course, audio chaos is your brand of choice! (Please remain muted with legs and arms inside the carriage at all times)
Initially, this threw me because “how am I going to be able to hear how my students are doing?”
Teaching in person, you don’t need to question this because you just hear the issue/struggle/meltdown straight away and react accordingly.
“This is only the second workshop of yours that I have attended, but I think that your style of teaching is outstanding… I’m very grateful to the NE melodeon group for introducing me and I suppose I just wanted to say thanks, because you’ve taught me a lot – even if you didn’t realise it!”
Ten minutes into my first online group class, I adapted my teaching methodology to accommodate this blind spot (deaf spot?!). In addition to my usual go slow and repeat, I use a system of “thumbs up and carry on” or “unmute and tell me the problem”. This works superbly well for both me and my students when online.
Over the last 18+ months, I’ve witnessed many 1-2-1 students struggle to maintain focus and motivation with their melodeon; many having lost their reason for playing (e.g. Morris, sessions, etc.). However, the students I saw regularly for online group classes seemed to flourish.
Many reported they had practiced more and felt the additional motivation and support from being in a group. Social interaction and creating a sense of community really seemed to spur them on.
Online melodeon classes allow you to receive tuition from me in a direct and effective manner.
Online, there are fewer interruptions and distractions from others’ noodling. On the plus side, online, you can noodle away to your heart’s content because nobody can hear you!
Online, everyone can clearly hear me (which isn’t always the case with in-person classes). Muting everyone makes it easier to follow the steps.
Online, people have reported feeling less nervous about group tuition, knowing they can’t be overheard.
“I think the content on your Patreon site is very generous. I find this way of learning suits me perfectly as I can progress at my own pace and stop and rewind the recording when I need to. It also induces much less anxiety…!”
Online, everyone has an equal chance of seeing me clearly (no strained necks or visual blockages!). I adjust my webcam to frame my instrument on screen and spotlight it in Zoom. This way participants can easily follow me.
Online, you can access expert tuition from wherever you are in the world! This year, I’ve met new people from Canada, USA, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Sweden and Australia.
Online, I can video record the whole class and share to all participants for use in between classes. If people can’t make class, they can catch up with the recording in their own time.
“Having your workshop video to look at (again and again) has been really helpful. The ability to go over your teaching points to practice is terrific. Being able to revisit certainly helps to clarify and ensure each part is looked at in detail. Thanks for this – very very helpful.”
New for 2022: regular online group classes – an addition to my current teaching offer.
Want to sign up for online melodeon classes or just need some more info? Click the image below for full information about how they work, class block dates, schedule and FAQs: