REMOTE LESSONS: Getting Started Guide

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 | Practicing and General Education

In a LIVE VIRTUAL LESSON we will use a video conferencing app to conduct a lesson of similar length and content to the student’s usual lesson. After the lesson is over, the teacher will email an updated assignment sheet.

In a CORRESPONDENCE LESSON, you will send a video or audio recording of each piece, section, or task you want attention on. You can send clips of all the different things you are working on, or just one piece. It’s up to you. You may also wish to send written comments or questions. Your teacher will review the materials you send and reply with written comments and/or a teacher video. The teacher will create a new assignment sheet which will be emailed to you.

Most students will do better with a LIVE VIRTUAL LESSON. We are offering the CORRESPONDENCE LESSON option only because it might be better for a very small number of students. A few students may do best with a combination. Ask your teacher!


♪ For the first lessons, parent help may be required.

♪ Choose a quality laptop computer with a good camera.

♪ Set it up ahead of time, and make sure it works by taking a video recording.

♪ Listen to the recording to make sure the audio quality is acceptable. Troubleshoot ahead of time.

♪ Find a stable place to put it where the student can see the screen AND the teacher can see the student’s face, hands, and keyboard.

♪ If you have EVER used a metronome before, it will be helpful to have a separate device available. You can always buy an old-fashioned metronome on Amazon or locally at Foxes Music. (Pretty much any option in the $10 to $30 rage will work.)

♪ If you have long hair, pull it back so your teacher can see more of your face!

♪ Plan to be present and engaged throughout the entire lesson. Probably your child will maintain appropriate behavior but…it can’t hurt to supervise them the first time. After the first lessons, you’ll have an idea of how much support and assistance your child needs going forward.

♪ Don’t be discouraged. Start with whatever you have, however you are able. 


♪ If you can’t use a laptop, a tablet or phone will work. Getting the set-up right, so that your teacher can see the student’s hands, face, and keyboard may be harder.  

♪ Placing your device on a soft surface may in some cases improve the sound quality. 

♪ A wired connection is better than a wireless connection. A wired connection isn’t practical in all circumstances but use one if you can. You can purchase very long ethernet cables for $10 to $30.


♩ Make a test video ahead of time. Make sure the audio quality is acceptable.

♩ Find a stable place to put your video recorder and make sure that your hands, face, and keyboard are visible.

♩ Get organized ahead of time. Decide what questions you will ask and what pieces and tasks you will record. If you’re not sure, go through your assignment sheet in order.

♩ If you have long hair, pull it back so your teacher can see more of your face!

♩ When you are ready to make your recording, announce each question, piece, or task clearly, so your teacher knows what you are playing and/or what you need help with.

♩Edit or trim your video(s) to remove long blocks of silence.

♩ Send it to your teacher just once each week. Send it on your normal lesson day if you can.

♩ Send it to your teacher in a standard format, and use a standard service (Dropbox, iCloud, One Drive) to send it. Or compress it. Probably, it will be too big to send by standard email.  


♩ Send in as much content as you can, but you don’t have to send in everything. You can choose what is going to be useful to send in.

♩Placing your device on a soft surface may in some cases improve the sound quality. 

♩ The built-in mic on your phone, tablet, or laptop is probably acceptable for elementary students. It may not be acceptable for advancing students. Try recording with whatever you have, then listen. It may sound pretty good! If it doesn't, you can consider further troubleshooting and/or upgrading your equipment.

♩ Your teacher will reply by sending you a video response or by sending written commentary. Your teacher will decide what they think is best. Your teacher will also follow up with a new assignment sheet. If you submit your video on the same day and time as your usual lesson, you can expect a response within 24 hours. If you submit it after your usual lesson day, you can expect a response within one week.


The built-in microphone and built-in speakers in your quality laptop or tablet are probably acceptable for elementary students. For advanced students, better sound quality may make a big difference in the usefulness of either VIRTUAL or CORRESPODENCE lessons. We have a separate "tech tips" post on improving your sound quality. 

Student Honors: Master Class February 2020

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 | Student Awards and Honors

On February 29, 2020, the studio hosted Rosanne Conway as our guest artist clinician. She brought fresh perspective and expert coaching to five very well prepared students! From among our many students, we selected students for this event based primarily on their preparation of challenging repertoire. Thanks and congratulations to our participating students:

♪ Caeli McIntosh ♪ Sonatina in C Major ♪ Biehl

♪ Philip Wang ♪ Sonata in G Major, Op. 49 No. 2 ♪ Beethoven

♪ Alex Xu ♪ Clair de Lune ♪ Debussy

♪ Noah Tennenbaum ♪ Diabolical Suggestion ♪ Prokofiev

♪ Owen Rollins ♪ Elegie ♪ Rachmaninoff 

Student Honors: NVMTA Bach/Baroque Festival 2020

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 | Student Awards and Honors

Congratulations to Elena Valdez-Torres and Karthik Thyagarajan, who earned the top rating of "Superior" in Bach/Baroque Festival, an annual event sponsored by Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association. In this event students perform two Baroque-era pieces from memory and receive a rating and comments. In addition, outstanding students have the opportunity to be selected for Honors. Plus, a harpsichord is available for all students to play! In addition to his Superior rating, Karthik was also selected for second audition, similar to an honorable mention award.

Student Honors: 2020 RCM Celebration of Excellence (Honors Recital)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 | Student Awards and Honors

Congratulations to Helena Horowitz who performed at the Southeast Region RCM Celebration of Excellence on February 23, 2020 at USF in Tampa, Florida. Helena played in a recital alongside students from throughout Florida and the southeastern United States. Students were selected for participation based on their high scores on the previous school year's RCM Exams. Learn more about RCM Exams at rcmusic.com/learning/examinations