When taking online music lessons, preparation is key! Here are the best ways to prepare for your online cello lesson.

What you’ll need for your cello lessons online

A video and audio enabled device connected to the internet

A computer, laptop, or tablet with internet connection is essential to your online lesson. You can even use your smartphone.

Laptops are usually the easiest to position, but their cameras are not usually as good as the cameras on smartphones, or external webcams.

Using a webcam will increase your audio and video quality if you are using a laptop.

While smartphones have better cameras, they are usually not as easy to position as a laptop.

Headphones

You’ll need headphones with a long enough cord to allow you to sit far enough back so your teacher can see you. More on this a little later.

Large headphones can interfere with posture at the cello. Choose earphones or smaller headphones that don’t require you to tilt your head to play the instrument.

Chair

A flat-seated, armless chair is is the best seating option. Please don’t use your couch or your bed!

Couches won’t support your properly and move less easily. So if your teacher needs you to turn so he or she can see you better, you won’t be able to adjust.

Just a note, try not to use office chairs with wheels. They move too much.

Music stand

Since you will likely be seating farther way from your device, it will make using it as a score reader a little more difficult. For this reason, having a separate music stand that you can place closer to you is helpful.

Notepad and Pencil

It’s important to take notes during the lesson, and mark your own music as needed. This will help you learn in the best way!

Setting Up

Positioning Your Camera

Place camera far enough away so that your teacher can see both of your hands. Your cello should be visible from at least the scroll to bridge. And your teacher should be able to see and the whole length of your bow.

Here’s a simple way to check your camera’s positioning: you should be able to reach your arms straight out from your sides and still see your hands within the frame.

Using the Headphones

You’ll notice that when setting up your camera, the distance to your device is much farther than most regular headphone cord lengths.

So you will need a pair of headphones with a really long cable, or an extender to add length to your headphone cable.

You might also try cordless headphones, but we recommend using corded. If your cordless run out of battery power, you won’t have anyway to continue with your cello lesson. Sometimes people just forget to recharge them. Or they remember too late.

Setting Up Your Music Stand

Make sure that your music stand does not block your teacher’s view. Have your camera placed slightly off center and your music stand slightly off center in the opposite direction.

Practice tip: Practice with the music stand slightly off to the side to prepare for your online lessons. This will help you find the angle you prefer for your lessons.

For instance, if it feels more comfortable to read music while it’s slightly to the right of you, place your camera slightly to the left.

Position the camera so that cello is in view from top to bridge, and the bow is in view from end to end.

Preparing for your online lesson

Keep your devices plugged into power as video calls tend to drain battery life. If you can’t stay plugged in, be sure to fully charge your devices in advance.

Test your internet connection. We recommend a 10Mbs connection or better (upload and download) for online video lessons.

Test your set up during a practice session. You’ll avoid scrambling to adjust your chair, your music stand, or your camera right before the lesson.

Also test your sound and camera, in case any adjustments need to be made there.

Communication

While in your celllo lesson, communicate with your teacher if you’re having any trouble seeing or hearing. It’s okay to point these things out. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Your teacher can also help you make any further adjustments to your set up, based on what you need.

This is especially true at Sage Music. Your cello teacher will always take special care to communicate with you the best ways to learn your instrument.

Now you’re fully prepared to have a great cello lesson online.