The Difficulties of Online Music Lessons and Performances

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The Difficulties of Online Music Lessons and Performances

Our lives are being transformed in so many ways all at once it seems impossible to list them all. Online teaching was already growing popular before the current COVID crisis — thanks to the internet we’re no longer limited to the teachers who live near us. I have been learning French online with a teacher who is located halfway around the world, and I save a lot of time by not having to physically go to class. But with the advent of the novel virus and the need for social distancing, distance has shifted from something to avoid to a necessity in many ways.

In a blink of an eye there are now thousands of new yoga, spinning, pilates, language, and even trade classes online, but have you ever thought teaching piano could be possible online too?

Now it is. Many people around the world are doing it. There are multiple sources which offer advice on how to teach music online.

Technical difficulties

My dad, who is over 80, is mastering the new art. When asked how he likes it he says, “The sound often freezes, the details are hard to follow. Cannot do much about it so you do the best you can.”

A friend of mine who is a music teacher is also mastering the new experience. “It is not ideal,” she says. “One loses many details during the lesson due to sound quality. It is impossible to truly show the student on the keyboard. Small children have more difficulty concentrating on what is going on on the screen than their adult counterparts. It is always some kind of a compromise.”

Online resources where people ask about how to achieve low latency say there is no good solution. “The best way is to be mindful of the issue.

They have given multiple solutions a try but if the internet connection is bad they assume there is not much that can be done.

Here’s a quote from another video – How Teaching Online is Different: “Latency: Because there’s a slight delay on video calls, you CAN’T play along with your students. By the time they hear you, there’s a delay (called “latency”), and then it gets doubled on its way back when you’re hearing them.”

So it seems that good network quality is crucial. In order to be able to teach well you need to literally listen for details and be able to react quickly.

How is this issue solved? Is there really no technology that can make online music lessons a better experience?

More musicians = more latency problems

On a related note, hundreds of performances around the world have been cancelled or postponed, but now a significant number of orchestras have started publishing live performances from home – to cheer up their audiences during the quarantine. 

This link lists several examples.

The challenges they must be facing when synchronizing the performances of artists in these non-optimal circumstances must be tremendous. How many times did they have to rehearse or re-record? Apparently, some of the workarounds included pre-recorded parts mixed with the live recorded audio.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if they could actually perform online live from their homes with everyone in sync?

There is no way around it — something needs to be done on the technology side to make the experience of teaching and performing music over the internet better.

The solution

Ceeblue offers a breakthrough technology which provides sub-second latency even if the connection is bad it will automatically choose the best video protocol and resolution available according to network quality.

There is no limit to the number of viewers / listeners, which is another unique feature of the Ceeblue solution.

Maybe in the future we will have an orchestra or choir where every participant is at her or his home — working together in perfect unity to make the music of the future — without the issue of slow networks and high latency.

The technology is here. Let the music begin.

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