Amidst the uncertainties of online learning, two pressing questions arise: Can virtual piano lessons entirely replace traditional classroom instruction? And can they serve as an effective tool for nuanced teaching?
In exploring the limitations of instrumental music instruction, one cannot overlook the absence of direct interaction with sound and the teacher-learner dynamic. Such detachment can lead to a less immersive experience and potentially hinder the quality of instruction. However, despite this apparent flaw, one can acknowledge the benefits of utilizing video and microphone technology as filters that sensitively and realistically reproduce the learning environment.
Indeed, online piano lessons can prove to be a powerful tool, as they offer unique opportunities for personalized instruction, flexibility in scheduling, and the ability to learn from renowned pianists around the world. Thus, while acknowledging the limitations of virtual learning, we cannot dismiss the value and potential of online piano instruction.
The teacher-learner relationship encompasses a range of didactic elements that can be effectively conveyed through online communication, provided that the teacher has the foresight and skill to generate targeted and productive instruction via this medium. The crucial point to consider is that online piano lessons can be both professional and effective if conducted by a skilled instructor.
The professional and ethical responsibility of a teacher lies in ensuring the reliability and validity of their work within the chosen medium, while also considering a wider framework of research and study. In this regard, the Internet and available technological tools offer ample opportunities for sincere and reliable professionalism.
In essence, it is important to highlight the benefits of online consultations and lessons, which can offer numerous advantages. Many students may have received inadequate and incomplete instruction in the amateur sphere with inappropriate programmes and suggestions picked up here and there on the web and then mixed up, leading them to seek out a professional teacher after several years of misguided learning. This is often due to the lack of valid references in their social context or concrete motivations for their future.
Fortunately, the internet provides a platform for seeking advice and communication without the barriers of geographic distance. The internet offers a wealth of opportunities for informed decision-making and learning. Students may easily access
- university websites,
- sites of accredited and certified instructors,
- search engines for all relevant information,
- comparisons of different study paths,
- and professional methodologies on a wider scale.
In essence, online interaction between the student and the professional teacher can be a valuable tool for conveying lessons and establishing a more dynamic level of engagement. For instance, consider two students: a young student who is curious about the benefits of studying with an accredited professional, and an adult learner seeking to pursue their passion for piano. Online learning can offer a means of fulfilling their curiosity, filling gaps in knowledge, and facilitating direct comparisons with other qualified instructors. In this way, online learning can provide access to a wider range of educational resources and opportunities, enabling students to learn from the best instructors regardless of geographical constraints.
As a beginner, it is natural to assume that low-cost courses, apps or YouTube tutorials are sufficient to get started. However, this approach can lead to prolonged periods of following misleading, generic and undeveloped teachings, resulting in bad habits, rigidity and wrong information. Such an amateurish approach can accumulate over time. It is only after seeking guidance from an experienced professional teacher that one realizes how much time and effort could have been saved, that one could have achieved in two months which instead took two years.
The alternative is falling into the trap of app sellers, amateur teachers in Facebook groups who often mislead students with simplified and generic “how to”-instructions. These entities should be differentiated from reputable academic institutions and professionals.
As professionals, we must consider how to deal with the growing prevalence of publicly accessible resources, which have become an important source of information for many. To promote responsible discernment of educational quality, a first step is the open discussion and collaboration between established universities and well-regarded music schools. These institutions have taken advantage of technology to establish their own platforms for study and dissemination, which are open to both students and enthusiasts. They serve as a model of quality distinct from generic social platforms, as they are accredited universities that can certify the academic value of each publication.
For advanced piano students, online teaching allows me to selectively choose students based on their tangible qualities and stage of maturity. This enables me to focus on more conceptual, verbal, and analytical aspects of the lesson that can be conveyed excellently through online communication, and it allows me to guide my students' path even if we are far away from each other.
Another essential aspect of piano teaching and musical development, often overlooked, is a student's ability to teach himself or herself. The time spent between lessons or masterclasses is when students engage in daily individual practice, and they must learn to do so effectively.
Is this period not the culmination of what is discussed and practiced during the lesson? The most critical element that sets the best students apart from the rest, that distinguishes those who can produce results and enables them to achieve results, is their ability to manage their time spent studying at home. By leveraging the study strategies taught and focusing on the syllabus covered in the lesson, students can make the most of their study time. In this way, online lessons can be used effectively and beneficially as closer and more direct coaching to help students answer the fundamental question of "how to study". Additionally, online lessons offer the advantage of allowing students to organize their schedule autonomously and to coordinate appointments directly with their teacher, creating a more personalized and direct learning experience.
I will conclude by highlighting some areas of focus that are frequently requested by my students, such as the fundamentals of piano technique, honing technique by referencing historical manuals, interpreting a particular piece, selecting an interpretive approach, exploring performance practices, guided ear training, improving sight-reading and score reading abilities, formulating programs and repertoires, investigating of executive performance faculties, studying scores from memory, and analyzing forms and genres.