Online Piano Lessons: Zoom Pointers

So, you have decided to tackle piano lessons and are concerned about what to expect when it comes to the first online lesson. The digital world has graced us with many options and possibilities for use in our daily lives, like online piano lessons. We see more and more benefits of the video conferencing service “Zoom” in our education, work, and social lives. There are plenty of advantages to taking a lesson online, but it can be confusing for those who do not have much experience using online video services. 

A piano lesson requires lots of focus, and worrying about what to expect during your online classes can hinder your concentration. We’ll go over all the pointers to prepare you and fill you in on everything you need to know before going into your Zoom lessons:


First and foremost, you should ensure that you have stable and reliable internet access before you hop on your first Zoom lesson. Without the internet, you won’t have access to an online piano lesson. 


You’ll want to check your connection to the internet. There are accessible services like Speed Test that allow you to see your download and upload speed. Some people prefer plugging their laptop or computer into their modem or purchasing Wi-Fi boosters that will strengthen their connection, making for a better Zoom session. 

In case you run into any difficulties connecting your laptop or desktop to the Wi-Fi, there are other alternatives you can take. Many devices can run Zoom, so if you own a mobile phone or device, you will be able to connect that way. 



To be able to proceed with online piano lessons, you will need either a desktop computer or a laptop, such as an Apple or Windows, or a mobile device that is an iOS or Android. These devices will be able to run Zoom, so your teacher will be able to communicate with you. 

Video & audio

While cameras are not always required to use Zoom, you will most likely need to have one to appear on the screen. The piano teacher will need to see you and how you play to be able to give you tips and informative instructions. An HD webcam will suffice for these lessons and are quite accessible and affordable to find in stores that sell electronics. If you own a laptop or a mobile device, then you’ll already have a camera that is built-in. 

The audio aspect of your online lesson is perhaps the most essential part. Along with your teacher being able to see you, they will need to hear you and vice-versa. Most laptops and mobile devices will have a built-in speaker and microphone. Desktop users need to have speakers and a microphone hooked up to fulfill the audio aspect of their lesson.


Headphones are a useful alternative in case you don’t have speakers. You can plug them into the audio jack and hear your piano teacher a bit more clearly. Headphones and earbuds are widely popular items and can be found at many electronics stores. Keeping a pair handy is a good idea when going into a lesson.

Setting Up

Before setting up for your online lesson, you have a couple of options when it comes to Zoom. You can download the app onto your computer or mobile device, which may make things a lot easier and more convenient for you. You can also use Zoom through your online browser, which will save you some space on your hard drive if need be. 

Lesson space

Once you have the proper equipment needed for your online lesson, then you can figure out your space and set it up. Make sure you and your piano are in view, as your teacher will want to see you. Depending on what time of day your lesson will be, be mindful of the lighting situation in the room. You will not want to be learning the piano in the dark, so make sure you and your piano keys are visible so your teacher can see you on screen.

Make sure your lesson takes place in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or pick up any background noise. Having an outlet nearby is recommended to ensure your device is charged. 

Using Zoom

The process of using Zoom for your online lessons will not be hard to figure out. However, anyone who hasn’t used the service might be wondering how to go about it. We’ll break down the step-by-step process so you will not run into any issues on your way toward mastering those lessons: 

Step-by-step process

As you set up Zoom on your device of choice, you’ll be met with some important prompts and features:

  • A link will most likely be provided for you by your piano teacher. Clicking the link will bring you to the lesson at your designated time. 
  • If you have not already, you will be asked to enter your name. This way, the teacher will know who you are.
  • Zoom will ask if it can access the camera, to which you will click OK. This is important to get the visual part of the lesson going. 
  • You will be asked to join the call with video. Click that prompt. 
  • Zoom will ask if it can access the microphone, which you will allow. Then your teacher can hear you.
  • Zoom may ask if it can send you notifications, which you may want to allow. This will be useful in knowing when your lessons have begun or ended, as well as knowing if there has been something entered in the chat portion. 
  • You will have access to advanced settings by choosing “enable original sound.” This way the music will come through more clearly for your instructor, as well as for you.
  • You may find that there is a recording option on Zoom. Using it may be helpful to you when you want to go back and recall some crucial tips in the lesson. 
  • Once you’ve finished the lesson, you or your teacher may end the call. 

It’s as simple as that. There’s no need to feel stressed or worried about your online lessons; you may find that you actually prefer their convenience. 

If you are interested in enrolling in Zoom music lessons, nothing is standing in your way. By following the above tips, you’ll see that learning how to play piano online is a highly accessible and comfortable opportunity. Don’t let the inability to meet in person deter you. Your piano lessons are waiting for you today!

Keyboard vs. Piano: What Exactly Is The Difference?

For most music lovers, the idea of playing an instrument can be exciting but difficult. There are many options to choose from, but starting on the piano is an excellent choice for a first instrument. While there are advantages to be had with the piano, you might run into some confusion about where to start. There are differences to factor in when choosing an acoustic piano or a digital/electric keyboard. Here are the perks of each side to help in your curiosities: 

What Is an Acoustic Piano?

Acoustic pianos are made of a wooden or metal exterior that features hammers and steel strings built within them. The piano has weighted keys connected by the steel strings to the wooden hammers so that when you press a key, the hammer strikes, creating a vibration, which creates sound. 

What Is a Digital Piano?

Digital pianos are not acoustic instruments. When the keys are pressed, the sounds are produced electronically.  The speakers will play back high-quality recordings from an acoustic piano and/or other instruments, like violins and drums.



The sound quality and options will vary between these two instruments, considering what options you like when it comes to the possibilities of sound. 

  • An acoustic piano produces sounds that are amplified physically. According to Liberty Park Music, it gives you a more authentic sound with better control over the articulation of the musical notes. 
  • A digital piano will copy the sounds an acoustic can make, as well as a variety of other sounds like the organ, synthesizers, sound effects, etc. The keyboard is installed with digital files that have different options for sounds, but you will lose the authentic sound of an acoustic. 
  • You get volume options when sticking with a digital keyboard, as well as an output to plug in headphones. This way, you can practice in private or use the volume knob to decrease the sounds. 
  • Some keyboards have a recording function, so you can record what you play. This is beneficial for anyone learning how to play piano and convenient for online music lessons.  


There will be a difference in feel when it comes down to playing these instruments; acoustic pianos vibrate.


  • An acoustic piano has weighted keys which require a little more finger strength than a keyboard. 
  • The strength and movement of your fingers on a piano will determine what tone of sound you will get, giving a different range of sound on a key. 
  • An electric piano may lack touch sensitivity when it comes to playing, which is why some manufacturers have created weighted keys to mimic the same feel of an acoustic. 
  • A standard piano has 88 keys, as do many keyboards, but not all keyboards feature 88 keys due to the size or model you choose. You will want to make sure you have 72 keys at the very least to ensure you have the ability to play many popular piano songs.


Acoustic pianos have foot pedals to alter the instrument’s tone, whereas electric pianos might not.

Sustain Pedal

The right pedal on a piano is also referred to as the damper pedal. The player has the ability to string notes and chords together in a smoother fashion, effective for transitioning between notes. 

Sostenuto Pedal

Located next to the damper pedal and will work as a selective damper. When pressed, the sostenuto rod will engage and hold up the dampers that have been raised when the keys are pressed. This sustains notes that are depressed when the pedal is engaged. 

Una Corda Pedal

Located on the left side next to the sostenuto pedal and is referred to as the soft pedal. This thins out the tone of the piano, as it shifts the keyboard and action to the right so that the hammers do not strike all the strings. By doing so, the hammers will strike a string with a different portion of the head, resulting in a softer sound. 

Digital Pedals

Most keyboards will not come with pedals, but some models will include them. For those without, an input jack can be found on the digital keyboard where you can plug in a sustain pedal that you can purchase at any local music store.  This will be the only pedal you can add to your keyboard unless you find a digital upright piano that comes with the three-pedal arrangement. 


Pianos are always a good choice, but most musicians will learn quickly that the size and portability of your instrument will play heavily in which kind of piano you buy. A full-size piano can reach a weight of 454 kg (1000 lbs.) or more, while smaller-scale pianos, like an upright, can still be 227 kg (500 lbs.). This type of piano makes for an interesting and challenging move, not to mention the deciding factor of where you would place it in your home. 

Digital keyboards are much more lightweight and portable in comparison, making for easy mobility. These keyboards can come with a portable stand, which help for quick setups. Portability is good for any travelling musicians who want a light load. 


Like anything you love, it is best to ensure your instrument is well taken care of. Acoustics, as well as digital or electronic pianos, need some TLC too.


  • Steinway recommends disinfecting your piano keys with over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide, as it is safe for piano keys. Make sure to use a cotton pad or soft cloth when doing so, followed by drying with a towel. 
  • An acoustic piano has more surface area to cover when wiping it down. When using a clean cloth and minimal warm water, make sure you don’t let any liquid in between the keys, as it can cause swelling within the piano. 
  • A keyboard requires the same treatment but with less surface area, making for a quicker clean. 


  • You will have to know how to tune your acoustic piano, as it will require tuning every six months or so, depending on how often it’s played. 
  • Some musicians may need the assistance of a professional when it comes time to tune the instrument. 
  • Seasonal changes, temperature, and humidity can contribute to your piano being out of tune.
  • Keyboards do not require any tuning, although the quality of their speakers can go out over a period of time. 

Price Difference 

When choosing your piano, the topic of the price will surely be a concern for you. When looking at an acoustic piano, they can be thousands of dollars. A digital piano, on the other hand, is much more affordable, hanging in the low hundreds, although higher-end models can be much pricier. 

Regardless of what decision you make when looking at the differences between keyboard and piano, online keyboard lessons are always beneficial to anyone looking to learn. The techniques you’ll learn will help you excel in your musical ventures and assist you when it comes time to making the decision: Keyboard or piano.

Zoom Tips

Tips for a successful Zoom Music Lesson or a Zoom Music Recital

Here are some important tips for setting up your device for a successful Zoom music lesson or Zoom Music recital. Practice with family and friends before your lesson or recital to test your set up.

1. Internet connection

It is important to have a good, fast internet speed (both upload and download) when using Zoom so as not to cut in and out. You may be required to upgrade your existing plan if you are on a basic plan. Make sure no one else in the home is using the internet at the same time (especially video streaming such as Netflix & YouTube) as this will slow down the internet speed.

Here are some other tips about your internet connection for Zoom.

  • Wired connections are better than wireless (Wi-Fi or cellular) connections.
  • WiFi connections are better than cellular (3G/4G/LTE) connections.

Consider Disabling HD webcam video.

Sending high definition (HD) webcam video requires more bandwidth than sending non-HD. Disabling HD video will free up more of your Internet connection for other parts of your Zoom meeting.

Close other, unneeded applications on your computer or device.


Introducing Piano Marvel

If you want to learn piano online, the Academy of Music is now offering online piano lessons using an amazing piano lesson app called Piano Marvel! Whether you’re looking for piano lessons for beginners, or to supplement your advanced piano ability, this intuitive piano learning app is perfect for you! (more…)

Piano VS Organ

At first glance, an organ and a piano may not seem that different. But once an organist or pianist sits down to play, they’ll notice that the type of music these instruments produce is quite unique. What’s the difference between a piano and an organ? Is an organ just a piano with 2 or 3 extra keyboards? Not exactly. These instruments sound different, have varying mechanisms to produce their tones, and require distinct training to play.  (more…)

How To Tune A Piano

When you purchase a piano, there is one type of maintenance that is essential to its quality and longevity: tuning. It takes time, patience, a trained ear, and a lot of practice to master the art of tuning. It involves a lot more mechanical know-how and precision than tuning a guitar. But by learning to tune a piano yourself, you can save money on hiring someone else to do it. Better yet, you’ll be keeping your instrument in top shape so that it holds the tuning for longer. If you’d like to learn about the process of piano tuning, we’ve put together the basic steps.  (more…)

How To Repair Your Piano

The piano may be your vessel to create beautiful and unique music. If there are problems with your instrument, you won’t be able to produce the elegant sounds that your heart sings with. In this post, we’re going to cover common problems that pianists encounter with their instruments. We will include some basic solutions, but many issues will require that you call in a professional piano repair person. (more…)

Consonance and Dissonance

Humans crave simplicity. We crave complexity too, but under very different circumstances. The beauty of simplicity is that it’s easy to understand, and understanding things easily is important to our survival. Simplicity is especially useful in language, because tight definitions allow us to convey information in fewer words. I once had a friend ask me what the “shape that was like a square but two sides were longer and the other two were shorter” was; he meant, of course, a rectangle. Reducing complex ideas to a single term helps us better understand each other; not all concepts can be so easily reduced, though.

Consonance and dissonance are not things that can be easily described with one definition; their meanings are relative to each other, and relative to culture, upbringing, sense of aesthetics and more. A discussion of consonance and dissonance must also be a discussion of complexity. Instead of offering you an easy answer for what they mean, we’re going to analyze them through a variety of different lenses, to see if we can create a deeper understanding of the terms.

The first lens we’ll employ is purely mathematical. Two notes might be said to be consonant if the ratio between them is simple; our desire for simplicity, back at it again. A perfect fifth is highly consonant; it has a ratio of 3:2, meaning that the upper note makes three vibrations in the same amount of time it takes for the lower note to make two. The major seventh, conversely, has a ratio of 15:8; quite an odd ratio, and quite dissonant to the ears. Without knowing these ratios, you could probably still tell which interval was consonant, and which was dissonant. Things get really strange with the perfect fourth, though. It has a ratio of 4:3, which is quite simple, and to listen to it without context, it sounds quite consonant. In practice, however, the perfect fourth is often considered dissonant. Why?

Put simply, it’s because more often than not, a perfect fourth feels like it needs resolution. It feels inchoate and unstable; we expect it to resolve to a more stable note. You can try this yourself; play an A, then a D, and you’ll almost certainly feel the desire to resolve the two to a third note, something like a C. This shows that simple mathematical ratios aren’t sufficient to explain consonance and dissonance; what else, then, explains it?

The answer to this isn’t simple, though we might very much like for it to be. We can look at cultural understanding to get some idea. When most of the music you’ve listened to for most of your life has treated certain intervals as “tension” and other intervals as “resolution”, you’re likely to interpret perfect fourths or other dissonant intervals as tense, even if you didn’t even understand the concept before reading this. Things that we might find “dissonant” can be seen as desirable in other cultures. For example, if you play two notes whose wavelengths are ever so slightly different, the ear can’t readily distinguish between the notes, but the respective waveforms will construct and destroy each other when overlapped, creating a “beating” or “tremolo” effect. Western musicians strive to eliminate beating, while in Indonesian gamelan music, the beat effect is sought for its added texture.

Here’s where things get really complex: what is music? When we make music, what are we trying to do? There’s no easy answer to this question, but what we are doing, in most cases, is trying to use sounds to invoke an emotional response. We can analyze consonance and dissonance from a variety of different angles, but in the end, it all comes down to how you feel. You can feel dissonance because you want resolution; you can feel consonance because it feels like home, like you’ve arrived. Without dissonance, the music might not be very good, because there’s no real journey to embark on; you never leave home. Without consonance, the music feels listless, unpredictable, not fully formed, because you have no sense of where you’re trying to get to. This means that consonance and dissonance will change constantly over time, as we gain new conceptions of what home is, and what the journey to home feels like. As you learn more about music, through piano lessons, music theory classes, even just listening to new songs, you’ll begin to appreciate how deep the concepts of consonance and dissonance truly are.

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