Taking guitar lessons online?
Get a great experience in your online music lessons by making sure you’ve got the right set up at home.
To get started, all you need is three things:
- your guitar
- a stable internet connection
- a video and audio-enabled device
These resources will absolutely get you going, but they won’t guarantee you the best online experience with your guitar teacher.
We don’t recommend that you wait to start your lessons until you have the best setup. Because perfect can be the enemy of good. It’s better to get started. And then improve your setup as you go.
The goal is to play the guitar! Not to have a great online setup.
The following tips will help you get from a good setup to having a great online lesson experience. You will be able to see and hear your teacher clearly. And your teacher will be able to see and hear you clearly so that they can give you the best advice. Remember, the more details they can observe in your playing, the more specific their feedback can be for you.
This will help keep you making steady progress on the guitar.
Use your regular practice space for your online guitar lesson
To make the most out of your online lesson, set up in your regular practice space. This allows your instructor to see you in your element!
If your instructor can see your practice space at home, they will be able to help you make adjustments and improvements to how you set up and practice.
This is so important. Because its your practice that will help you make the most progress. And it will help you set up for the best practice sessions between your guitar lessons.
Ideally you should be set up in a quiet and distraction-free space.
Be sure to use a comfortable chair, that’s suitable for guitar playing. Your chair should be armless so that your teacher can see you best, and so that you can move freely. But not so freely that you aren’t stable. No wheels! And no swivels!
Or grab your guitar strap if you prefer to stand with your electric or acoustic guitar.
Resources you’ll need for your online guitar lesson
- Your guitar
- Video and audio enabled computer or device
- Strong internet connection
- Headphones (optional but recommended)
- USB Microphone (optional but recommended)
- Music Stand
Classical and Acoustic Guitars: You are good! These guitars don’t require any special setup.
Electric Guitars: If you use an electric guitar for your online lesson, you’ve got two options to help your teacher hear you. These guitars usually are not loud enough on their own.
- Use an amplifier. Play your guitar through your amplifier on a low setting so that your sound is picked up by your microphone. Amps can get loud rather easily. Be careful not to make it much louder than you speaking voice.
- Use an audio interface. There are several audio interfaces that you can purchase that will allow you to connect your guitar directly to your computer. Options include the Behringer U-Phoria, and the Focusrite Scarlett Solo. Just be aware that they may require some extra steps to set up.
Position yourself far enough from the camera on your device so that your instructor can see both your hands, plus the entire fingerboard of your guitar. It’s not necessary to see the headstock or the tail end of the guitar.
A wider view also gives your teacher the ability to help you with your body posture and with positioning your instrument.
A strong internet connection
Check your internet speed before you get started to avoid having a slow and choppy connection. Run a free speed test here.
Once you know how fast your connection is, compare it to what is recommended for a solid live video lesson experience. Below you’ll find some recommendations for the best internet connection to use for your online guitar lessons.
If that article is too much to read, the short answer is you’ll need at least 4mbs upload and dowload speeds for a HD video lesson. But we recommend 10mbs to provide you with a little headroom.
Headphones (or ear buds) help you hear your instructor clearly. The sound quality is often much better than the speakers on your computer or laptop or phone. They will also help block out any background noise and aid your ability to focus during your lesson.
If you don’t want to worry about the cable getting in the way (and it really can!) we recommend trying bluetooth headphones.
That way, the wire on your headphones does not get in the way of your guitar strap or neck. And it wont interfere with your playing if it touches or dampens the strings.
With bluetooth headphones, you will not need to worry about any of these things during your online guitar lesson. But you do need to make sure that they are fully charged before your lesson!
A solid microphone ensures your sound is delivered to your instructor in the best quality possible.
As a result, your instructor can better hear your tuning, your accuracy, and your tone! Getting a good tone is one of the things that will make you sound great on the guitar. And if your teacher can’t help you get a good tone, that means you might never sound the best that you can.
The nuances of your tone are not typically picked up by an onboard computer or device microphone. That’s where the benefit of a good mic is most important.
Having a good microphone to record with is also such a great tool to invest in for your own practice so that you can better evaluate yourself. But we’ll save that for another time.
USB microphone recommendations:
Set up your music stand next to your computer or device so that you do not have to twist or strain to see your sheet music during your online guitar lesson.
To help your guitar teacher see your technique better, if you are right handed, place your music to the right of your computer. And if you are playing guitar left handed, place it to the left side.
This way, the stand is not getting in the way of your teacher’s view and you can be super comfortable speaking with your teacher while working with your scores.
Optional resources for your online guitar lesson
Two camera-set up
For the best set up, we recommend using two devices for your online guitar lesson since most people have a smart phone and another device these days. Simply join your lesson meeting on both devices.
Feedback Warning! Be sure to mute the microphone and turn down the volume to zero on your second device to avoid feedback.
Use one device straight on to capture your image from the front. A larger device, like a laptop or tablet, works best for this angle so that you can use it to view your teacher and demonstrations.
The other device should be positioned in a way to get a close up look of your hands on the guitar. You can use a smaller device, like a cell phone, for this angle.
Your instructor will be able to toggle between the two views you have set up.
Device supports / mounts / tripods
A device stand, whether for your phone, tablet, or laptop, will provide a stable view for your guitar teacher.
Depending on how your practice space is set up, a device mount may come in handy to avoid needing to balance it on books or have it shift around on your music stand or fall during your lesson.
Another great thing about them is that they are adjustable, unlike a desk or table.
By using a device stand, you can improve or change what your teacher is able to see by raising or lowering the stand, or by adjusting the angle of the device on the stand.
If you are using the multiple device set up described above, you can use these recommended mounts to position the additional device at a more advantageous angle than your main setup device for your online guitar lesson.
Try these stands and mounts:
The ideal setup for your online guitar lesson
Here is an example of an ideal online guitar lesson setup. Most of the resources we highlighted here are positioned in the best way.
- Blue Snowball USB Microphone
- Music stand
- Laptop stand
Remember that the most important thing about setting up for your online guitar lesson is that you are completely comfortable, focused, and that your guitar teacher is able to see everything you are doing as you play. This is how you’ll know that you are equipped to learn in the best way.
Your guitar teacher should have everything they need to give you an amazing online lesson experience––Sage Music teachers are equipped with our exclusive lesson framework, and teacher training to ensure that you receive an individualized lesson experience tailored to your goals and interests.