Looking to study with me but thought you can’t because you live somewhere far, far away? Afraid if I’m on the road you won’t be able to hook up with me for a lesson? No sweat, thanks to modern technology we have the concept of the Skype lesson. With the aid of Skype – a free software application that allows users (you and I) to video conference over the Internet – we can “meet” no matter where you or I may be. Think you live too far away? HA! I teach from the USA, mostly from the great state of NJ, and I’ve taught students as far as Thailand and Japan! As long as there’s a descent Internet connection to be had, we both have Skype installed on our respective computers and a few other tools listed below, we can engage in a 1-on-1 learning environment that was, until recently, impossible to the point of laughter.
Well, laugh no more – it’s on!!
The first step is to click here to download and install Skype on the computer you will be using for the lessons. Then, you’ll also need the following:
A webcam or camera – While I can’t recommend any one specific webcam you can’t go wrong with a $10 Logitech unit or a built-in camera found on a laptop. Of course the more you spend, the more likely you’ll get superior results. For example, if you have a video camera that has a USB or FireWire out you can take advantage of features such as zooming in out and maybe patching your vocal mic and miked amp signal into a small mixer that can connect to an audio input!
Adequate lighting – You’ll need to project a good enough image over Skype where I can clearly see what you’re playing. That usually comes down to your lighting situation. Be sure to open up the Skype preferences and navigate to the video section where you’ll see a live feed of yourself. This is identical to what I will see allowing you to tweak your lighting to a stated where I can most effectively do my thang.
Headphones or a headset – In order to prevent potential feedback problems it’s best to wear headphones during the lesson. Even better is a headset that comes with an adjustable mic. This is especially true if the computer you’re using does not have an internal mic (such is the case with most desktop towers). Take note: If you plan on using your computer’s internal microphone to transmit your voice and guitar you may create what’s called a feedback loop where whatever sound you’re projecting, or hearing from me for that matter, comes through your computer monitors only to be picked up by the microphone again, thus starting the feedback. So, all the more reason to at least have headphones on your head.
Adequate audio – Music is a hearing man’s game. That said, I gotta hear you loud and clear. I strongly suggest you play through an amplifier that’s set loud enough to where your miking situation can project your playing over to me with a good, strong signal that doesn’t clip.
PayPal account – All payments are done through PayPal. You’ll need to have an account setup where you’ve established an email user ID that I can send an invoice to. To get started click here.
“Just a little patience…” – There’s no doubt with the advent of VoIP technology we have the incredible opportunity to be able partake in a lesson situation no matter where you and I are in the world – amazing! But, that’s not to say the Skype lesson platform does not come with its growing pains. This is why my lesson rates are discounted as compared to studying with me in person. First and foremost we cannot play together at the same time. To counteract that I’ve devised various teaching methods that have proven very effective for the Skype lesson environment. Also there may be times, though rare, where you, me or both will experience garbled audio and/or video as well as a dropped call. If during our scheduled time we’re having no luck with maintaining a stable connection I will make the call to reschedule the lesson at a time that works for both of us.
Since starting to teach online via Skype back in 2006 with my first student, Steve Pedulla of Thursday, I’ve linked up with students all from over the world – literally. I’ve had the honor and pleasure to interact with incredible people from countries all across the globe including the UK, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, Canada, the Canary Islands of Spain, the Cayman Islands, The Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Thailand and Japan; not to mention all over the US. I’ve taught everything from general lessons on theory and technique to gear geek-based instruction to my Berklee Prep program – even a few completed 7-Tone programs! It’s been a life changing experience for me as an instructor and I look forward to connecting with more guitarists from all over the globe.
If you have all the tools outlined above and you’re ready to connect drop me a line here and let’s get started.
For more information on pricing and policies, click here.