226: Delivering your online music programming the right way
No matter how you teach music online, there are some steadfast rules to follow to allow your students to achieve their goals and love the online learning experience you provide.
Providing an unforgettable experience
Providing an unforgettable experience
I believe this is the most important! Making sure that your student is excited about the WHOLE experience! This includes:
What they’re going to learn
The environment in which they’re learning
And how they feel empowered to continue coming to the device - despite the distractions at home (you know, the pets, the people around them, the neighbors, the chores, etc!)
It’s your job to make sure that they feel validated when they come to the screen to learn from you. What you’re teaching them is going to help better themselves as a musician - so creating an unforgettable experience through live lessons and interactions (as well as anything that’s pre- recorded) is job #1.
This gets glossed over more than it should... I’m talking about effective communication. All of your communication, every link, reminder, email, text message - needs to come across at the right time and with authority! If you teach lessons, be sure to have adequate reminders with a link - be sure to include your vital information and not leave your messages so vague (for example: Reminder: You have a lesson Thursday at 4:00 pm)
This same message applies to recital and billing information. Always be sure to send complete and concise information for your students and their families. Make sure that they feel like they have the easy job of “just pressing play” - make it easy for them to come back!
Lastly, making sure to set the right level of availability! In person, it’s really easy to set your availability. Students can access you during their lessons, or class, or via email. With online, theoretically, they can have much more access to you and that may be great - but at the same time makes it feel like you’re always working! Which is why it is important to set the appropriate level of availability and expectation for your students.
If you are running a course where there is an interactive option, assignments and feedback - I suggest that you make it clear that assignments are due by X time by X date and that you review all assignments and send feedback at X date and X time. This not only sets your students up to not be “knocking” on your virtual door at all times - but also allows them to plan for their own success and creates clear separation and boundaries!
Now, as your studios / courses/ workshops etc continue to grow, a lot of teachers like to create forums - or a community where people can post their videos / audio to ask questions and connect with other students who are going through the same course to get feedback. When you set up a community aspect, be sure to make it clear that you are not responsible for answering back every single question or comment and be sure to clearly define what level of involvement you have within that community or forum. The last thing you want is for people to not get responses from you and start questioning your authority - help them understand your role within that community or forum.
Additionally, you want to figure out and effectively communicate how you want students to communicate with you when it comes to billing matters, scheduling matters, personal inquiries, feedback on things other than course material - how do you want students to communicate with you then?
Tip: The fewer ways your students can communicate with you, the better! But when you’re picking ways of communicating be sure to pick ones that make sense for your students' audience. How are they using online tools best? Are they texting, using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat