Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, my music teacher and I have resorted to conduction our music lessons online via Skype. So far we’ve only had one lesson, but we plan on continuing them for the time being. That being said, there have been some issues concerning how our first online lesson went. This week I’ll be writing about the advantages and disadvantages that I found during the first lesson.
One new thing that wasn’t really an advantage or disadvantage was that my music teacher created his own lesson template file for us to work with. This didn’t really have to be something exclusive to our online lessons, but it was the first time that we did something like it. What he did was create a short song with different instruments that wasn’t really complete. For the duration of the lesson, we spent time applying different strategies to improve on the file in order to make it sound better. I found this to be quite different and interesting since we would typically start creating something from scratch which would take some time.
Setting the new lesson format aside, an advantage that I found in the online lessons was that I was able to see what my music teacher has on his screen and how he is working around the music program. Usually, we’d both be working off of the same laptop, however, this time I was able to see what he’s doing and how he has his software set up.
While I was able to see my teacher’s screen, Skype caused quite a few problems. The first problem that I immediately noticed was that only one person could share their screen at a time. That meant that either I had to be screen sharing or my teacher had to be screen sharing. This meant that we had to keep on switching back and forth. In the end, it wasn’t too big of a deal since we were mainly focusing on my screen, but it was still an inconvenience.
A second disadvantage of using Skype was that screen sharing doesn’t share the audio from the computer. For a music lesson, this was quite the issue, and the only way to fix it was to not use headphones in order to let the audio come out of the speakers and into the microphone. This made it impossible to use headphones which made it harder to tell the differences when changing effects, and it also made it really difficult to hear what was playing on each other’s computers. Sometimes the audio would be really quiet sometimes, so we had to bump up the volume of the laptop since we didn’t want to change the levels in the program. This also made the Skype call audio louder, so the other person would be really loud when you wanted them to hear the audio. Currently, there isn’t a way in Skype to change the audio of individuals during calls.
Overall, the online lesson was different and interesting. Most of the issues we had were just from Skype which was the program we used to share each other’s screen. As far as I know, Skype doesn’t really get useful updates very often, but pretty much all of our problems would be solved if we used something like Discord. It’s also free, multiple people can share their screens at the same time with the audio, and you can adjust other people’s volumes. However, its format is more that of being a social hub rather than making phone calls between individuals.