Author: michellep


A little over a year ago, I read an article in the New York Times about a man who had been teaching lessons online for a few years. He had several students who were all over the country! I was very impressed. His set up was quite sophisticated. He had a camera rigged to his ceiling that shot straight onto his keyboard and another camera facing him. He could switch back and forth accordingly.

I saw this and I thought… how does this happen? And how can I get on board? I definitely felt like I was looking into the future of piano lessons, because it really isn’t hard to imagine a future where every piano student just logs onto whatever current version of Skype is being used in order to start their music lesson. I mean, it definitely seems to be the direction we are all going in with everything.  

Now– being someone who has never really been gifted at technology, I felt incredibly stressed out by this. My competitive side realized I would have to do this eventurally, so I may as well start now.

I hired someone to come over and “train” me. He was already established as a remote teacher for Music Recording and had students from all over the world. He had me order a second camera, download a bunch of apps and he even made me download a new browser system (apparently he didn’t like the one I was using). He showed me how to connect my MIDI keyboard and use that for the sound during my lessons. He instructed me to use Google hangouts instead of Skype, which I thought was weird. It was all very overwhelming. So much more complicated than simply showing up to someone’s house and teaching an old fashioned piano lesson! After teaching 3 lessons online by my teacher’s method, I decided it wasn’t for me. It was just too stressful to keep doing.

If you run a studio, one of your biggest tasks is keeping a staff of good teachers. That can be one of the hardest parts of your job. I’ve managed music lesson studios and hired teachers and I can honestly say this was one of the more stressful parts of the job. Here are some of the things I learned. Please feel free to add your own input. I’m sure many studio owners would love to know how others handle this task!

1. Have them teach you a lesson.

Whenever I interviewed for teaching jobs as a teacher, the best schools had me teach a mock lesson. The ones that just interviewed me like any business would have, ended up being disorganized programs with lots of unhappy teachers and badly behaved children. When a school has you do a mock lesson, it shows the candidate that this is a serious institution and we only hire quality teachers. The lesson doesn’t have to be long. You can have your candidate teach you a specific type of lesson, perhaps a beginner piano lesson or maybe a lesson on reading 8th notes. If your school caters to more advanced students, have them critique a performance of an intermediate/advanced student.


2. Take the mock lesson with a grain of salt.

I know this sounds contradictory, but it’s not. The mock lesson IS important. It shows you how organized the candidate is,