Required Equipment for Teaching Music Online
As is true of so many things in life, for teaching online music lessons there are "must-haves" and "nice to haves." We'll go over the must-haves first.
Required equipment for teaching live online lessons:
Computer or tablet
Good Internet connection
Computer or tablet: It'll need to be somewhat recent, usually from within the last 3 to 5 years in order to perform well. Video streaming technology is rapidly developing, and older computers unfortunately can't handle some of the updated specs. Tablets, such as iPads, work great on the Lessonface platform.
Webcam: Most recent computers have built-in webcams that will be completely fine for online lessons.
If you find you need to invest in an external webcam (meaning one that you buy separately, typically connected through a USB port), there are some good ones starting at around $50. Logitech and Microsoft are both generally respected brands for external webcams.
Connection: One thing to remember when optimizing your videochat experience is that a hardwired (e.g., ethernet) connection is generally preferable to a wireless connection. If you experience significant latency or poor-quality videochat with a wireless network, give a hardwired connection a try and see if things improve.
As for connection speed, we're aiming for 1 MBPS bandwidth, both up and down. If you don't know what that means, don't worry - you can test your real, actual connection by going to Speedtest.net and clicking on "Begin Test." The numbers you get will be ping, upload speed, and download. Ping will indicate the amount of latency you should expect (should be a number in miliseconds). Upload and download speeds are how quickly things will upload or download, and is where the 1 mbps minimum is relevant.
Here's the Speedtest.net site - the graphics can be a bit overwhelming, so just for clarity, you may need to wait for the page to load in order to see the Begin Test (as shown by the arrow in the above image). We do not recommend clicking elsewhere on the site - the test is free to run but the rest of the links will try to sell you things.
And here's a great result. This is the Lessonface HQ Fios connection, which is a very strong one. You need the upload and download both to be at least 1 mbps (1024 kbps). You may hear people referring to your speed "down and up" - this is what they're talking about. So this would be referred to as "we have over 35 megs up and down." To be more exact, 35 megs down and 37 up, or about 35 times the baseline needed of 1 mbps.
This is the result from a home wifi network. You can see it's considerably slower, and falls below our minimum. Time to move closer to the router and try again!
Follow the link to learn more about Optional Equipment.