Proper Online Lesson Etiquette

Online lessons present a few obstacles that differ from your traditional in-studio learning experience. Aside from Creating a Proper Learning Space and Properly Framing Yourself on Camera, following a few simple guidelines can help with getting the most out of your online lesson experience.

Establish Direct Contact with your Student/Teacher

Where possible, discuss a method of direct contact with your student/teacher. This can be very important for starting up a student's first online lesson and for dealing with sudden interruptions such as internet outages. Some students/teachers may have their preferences in the method of contact, such as a personal/work email or phone number, and some may even be against exchanging this information. If privacy is a concern, establish rules regarding when to contact your student/teacher. Examples of such rules include:

  • Contacting the teacher/student in the event of a sudden lesson interruption.

  • Contacting the teacher/student when having trouble connecting to a lesson.

  • Contacting the teacher/student if you are running late.

  • Contacting the teacher/student in advance if you need to reschedule.

  • Contacting the teacher/student to exchange lesson related documents, such as sheet music.

Establishing and maintaining some ground rules will ensure that contact between student/teacher remain related to the materials taught in a lesson, and scheduling/rescheduling confirmation. Billing concerns and lesson payments should still be brought to the school admin office.

Join Lessons at the Appropriate Time

Students should be mindful that their teachers may have full schedules with back-to-back students. If you have established with your teacher that you will join the meeting room for your lesson (your teacher being the host), make sure that you join ON-TIME and not a few minutes early. Joining early can cause interruptions for your teacher if they are still in the middle of teaching a lesson.

If you are trying to join at your scheduled time and your teacher hasn't accepted you in yet, they may just be running a bit late. If your teacher doesn't invite you back after a minute or two, try joining once more before directly contacting them to confirm what might be going on.

Take Turns Communicating During Lessons

Audio (and video) delay is common during online lessons, and may vary from student to student (and teacher to teacher). When communicating to your student/teacher during online lessons, do your best to allow each person to speak or demonstrate something uninterrupted. Butting in during the middle of a sentence or performance, combined with the delay of online communications, can cause a lot of confusion.

Teachers should give their students opportunities to ask questions or express concerns. If a sudden interruption is necessary, such as needing to stop a student to discuss a major mistake, try to anticipate the best time to interrupt politely with an excuse me or hold on.

Students should avoid noodling on their instrument as this is not only distracting, but can also drown out the teacher's audio and show a lack of attention and respect for the teacher's efforts, especially in a group class setting.

For more detailed information regarding audio/video delay, refer to Dealing with Delay.