Setting up for success: Zoom lessons
Steps 1-3 will have the greatest effect on your lessons.
STEP 1: Hardware matters!
BEST for online voice lessons: computer using the downloaded and installed Zoom app
WORST for online voice lessons: chromebook, smart phone
BEST for sound quality: external USB microphone
OKAY for sound quality: built in microphone on a laptop or desktop computer
WORST for sound quality: chromebook, some smart phone and tablets
More later about headphones and speakers.
STEP 2: Reducing Internet Latency
Latency is the delay before the transfer of data begins after the signal has been made/sent. We have to accept internet latency at this time, but there are things we can do to minimize it:
1. Connect your computer to the internet via ethernet cable. Even if you are connecting your ethernet to your wireless modem, this will result in a more stable signal.
2. Check your internet speed. Go to speedtest.net to test your internet. Wondering what speed you need? Here is an article about that (not music specific). Also, check with your internet service provider and make sure that you are receiving the download/upload speeds you are paying for. It is worth the time!
STEP 3: Music Optimized Zoom Settings
Change Zoom setting to be music optimized:
In Zoom---> Settings ---> Audio
Unclick the "automatically adjust volume"
enable original sound
disable suppress intermittent background noise
disable suppress persistent background noise
make sure "turn on original sound" is turned on in your video window. When original sound is on, it should say "Turn Off Original Sound"
STEP 4. Connecting your USB microphone and making sure the sound is coming through Zoom
STEP 5: Considering Headphones
If you have apple airpods, do not use them for online music lessons. Airpods force the default microphone to originate from the airpods. While optimized for speech, it is VERY bad for singing. As of the time of writing, there is no way to disable the microphone and keep the earphone active.
I prefer to use a corded headphones when necessary. Bluetooth headphones will work, but can add another connection issue. Also, when using corded headphones, the distance you can travel is limited.
STEP 6: Considering External Speakers
External speakers may be preferred to headphones. Guidelines for external speakers:
choose an external speaker that is hardwired (aux cord), not bluetooth, if possible.
location should be 3-5 feet from the singer, preferably: computer/Zoom device--- singer--- speaker.
also preferred for practicing with tracks
STEP 7: Considering your space
Try out the lighting to make sure you are fully visible (too much sunlight behind you is not great)
We want to see as much of your full posture/alignment as possible. Ideally, we would like to see you from the knees up. If that is not possible, we would like to see you from the hips and up. Play with your camera angle to find the optimal setting. We can offer most effective feedback when we can see you straight on, instead of an extreme upward or downward angle.
STEP 8: Considering a music stand
If you are utilizing your own space, and don't own a music stand, you may want to consider purchasing one.
Trusty Manhasset Music Stand from Woodwind Brasswind (This is the industry standard, and the stand we use in the studio)
Folding stands (warning: can be flimsy!)