Can You Really Teach Cello Through Skype / Webcam ?

How do you feel about virtual lessons? Marianne has an interesting topic here, please feel free to leave your comments below!
I didn't think so until a former student asked me for help last October (university level). She first wanted to fly to Berlin and spend a couple of days there to take lessons but I thought it would be a lot of money for her parents to pay and a very short term solution. I suggested having a skype meeting to talk about how I would help her to get organized and practice a little. That's how the cello helper started.

Our first session was a happy meeting, it lasted more than 2 hours, it was like having her at home. We both used our Zoom H2 as external microphones so we could hear each other very well. Some integrated microphones are ok too, but since we both had our H2 microphones we used them.

When I teach, I put my student's skype window on my TV screen so it is almost like having them in the room. I use an external HD webcam with a long cable so that I can move it around and show the posture of the hand or arm easily and I listen to them through high quality speakerphones.

Is it the same as in person?

I don't teach differently on skype than in my studio in Berlin, but I have noticed that the students who contact me through the cello helper have a need in particular, sometimes they need me in addition and to complement their current teacher and to perhaps focus on technique; others are looking for more freedom in their cello playing, but it is usually with a certain goal in mind.

I have been teaching for 18 years now and I love it as much as performance. Since I was little, I have always liked to solve problems, repair broken toys and electronics... finding solutions has always been like a game to me. I did a lot of research on posture, breathing, concentration and technique to be able to give good diagnostics and solutions. I like to find the root of the problem so the 'fixes' we find are not temporary.

I think that new technologies can be wonderful if we make a good use of them. The cello helper is a wonderful experience for me, it connects cellists of all ages and levels from all over the planet.

HELLO STAGE recommends Marianne's The Cello Practive Helper, you can find, like and follow her page on Facebook!

Marianne Dumas is a french cellist and teacher currently based in Berlin, where she is busy recording her upcoming Bach CD (what else;)). You can follow her journey and keep up with her musical adventures on her HELLO STAGE page!
Author: Marianne Dumas / edited by Nina HELLO STAGE
Comments [2]
Anne Wieben - 2015-05-30 13:43
While face-to-face is always better, I have done quite a few voice lessons via Skype and think it works great!
Maria Busqué - 2015-06-03 18:05
It's definitely worth giving a try.
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