October 28, 2021

About the Author: Evie Coplan

Evie Coplan is a cello teacher at The London Cello Institute. She has a passion for sharing her love for the cello with adults who play for their own pleasure. She is also an enthusiastic performer both in solo and orchestra format.

During the pandemic, online lessons were the only way of carrying on with cello lessons. At first, many people saw this as a mediocre version of an in-person lesson and that they weren’t getting the proper experience of learning the cello. However as the pandemic continued to make its way around the world and we could see that this wasn’t just a short term solution, we began to get the most out of this online experience. The benefits of online lessons were outstanding and proved this could be an extremely valuable way of learning the cello.

cellist performing onstage

Most of the students at the LCI are busy adults working in the City of London and regularly travelling around the world, therefore the concept that they can have a lesson anywhere is extremely valuable. Online lessons also allow students to not have to take their cello to work in order to have their cello lesson in the evening and to learn in the comfort of their own home. Naturally we learn much more effectively when we are relaxed, therefore being able to learn in your own home can be an ideal situation.

At the LCI we offer lessons over Zoom and ask students to turn on the right settings so that the sound quality doesn’t get too compressed. If you have a microphone it’s worth plugging it in so that your teacher can get a clearer idea of how you’re playing. Positioning your device carefully can make an incredible difference to the quality of your lesson so that your teacher can see every aspect of your technique, and help you get the most out of your lesson.

Before your lesson begins, make sure your cello is ready, your screen is positioned well, your settings are correct in Zoom and your WiFi connection is stable. This will allow you to focus on your playing rather than be constantly worried something is going to go wrong with the technology.

top view of cellist playing

At the LCI we encourage all of our students to send videos of themselves playing their pieces prior to their lesson so that their teacher can listen and write careful notes on their playing. Not only does this allow your teacher to give you very accurate feedback (unaffected by any internet lag) but you will also build up a library of recordings of your playing so you can carefully track your progress. This has been an invaluable tool in online teaching and the encouragement students get from seeing how much they’re improving is really inspiring.

This aspect of the online lessons worked so well that we still use this method with in person lessons. Recording yourself playing and listening back is a brutal but very effective way of learning and hearing our own mistakes, and over time you will gain confidence from this process.

The LCI offers both in-person tuition and online tuition to give you the freedom of where you can have your lesson and take the pressure off making it on time to you lesson during a busy working week. Although online lessons have been a saviour during the pandemic, many people were very excited to get back to our lovely studios on Fleet Street and see their teacher in person.

The majority of these students either had internet issues, couldn’t tune their cello without assistance, found the audio unrealistic over Zoom or just missed the natural interaction with their teacher. I think it’s fair to say nothing will beat the quality of the tuition you can get in person. Learning an instrument is all about the sound and the experience of playing and when a major part of that experience is compromised due to the software, it can take the joy out of learning.

man playing the cello

Many people immediately discard the idea of having a lesson online because the don’t see how it can compare to an in person lesson. I think the important thing to remember is that they’re not the same but they both have their advantages so arguably are valuable in their own ways. If you are someone who is nervous about learning or lives a bit too far from the LCI why not learn online in the comfort of your home without that wasted time spent on a train? Many adult students get anxious about learning something new, so online lessons might be perfect for you.

If you feel that online lessons would work for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss this further!

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