I rely on Logitech webcams with a long range panoramic capability and various angled keyboard views, including a DIRECT KEYBOARD overhead as below.
These views are just a mouse tap away. For trill and ornament demonstrations, I can highlight the second or third HD PRO cam option listed on my SKYPE (or FACE TIME) Preferences window and then I can easily switch back to the longer range image with another click. (first view) The FULL SCREEN selection is recommended.
Below is a side Overhead webcam view of my piano. This is what the student will see ONLINE in real time if I choose this WEBCAM option.
Flashback to my early DAYS teaching by SKYPE: (The Internal Camera view on the iMac 21) At this point in my teaching ONLINE, I did NOT use an EXTERNAL WEBCAM. But I did utilize a Yeti Blue mic.
NOTE: Since my iMac upgrade to MAVERICKS, I’ve been using the Logitech C920 HD1080p webcam. (NOTE that the webcams will be listed as “HD Pro Webcam C920”)
RECOMMENDED: USB Cable extensions afford flexibility with webcam placement.
NOTE: in the old days for a trill close-up I put the webcam on my crossed knee to give it elevation.
The most CURRENT set-up in my music room for Online Piano Lessons:
A USB CONNECTED MIC can be used such as the YETI Blue:
The Direction and Effect of Lighting on the Keyboard using a webcam (overhead view):
The following tutorial that I uploaded following a lesson to Scotland (using my Mac’s Quicktime record) was specific to acquiring proper lighting on my piano’s keyboard. I utilized my second Alzo mounted tripod in a high side angle cam view of the piano. (This tutorial encompassed a review of J.S. Bach Invention 8)
A separate Quicktime generated video that exemplifies, good keyboard lighting with a decent audio result. (YETI MIC)
Various webcam views and sound setting demonstrations for ONLINE music lessons:
*****RECOMMENDED: My Most recent updated video on webcam views used during a piano lesson, and recording options. It shows the North Carolina’s student’s set-up, etc.
My London Student’s set-up
Once ONLINE for SKYPE, CLICK “SKYPE PREFERENCES” for AUDIO/VIDEO SETTINGS
(NOTE: On the Mac it’s wise to set general SYSTEM Preferences for SOUND when you start your computer. Notice how I highlighted the YETI Mic, and set the sound levels). If the Internal Mic provides satisfying sound, you can use it to open up a free USB for an additional webcam connection.)
Your CAMERA choices on SKYPE refer to your external USB webcams. In addition, with a MAC or PC you should have an INTERNAL CAM. For the MAC it’s the FACE TIME cam view that’s governed by your computer’s placement.
To EMPHASIZE, the Logitech webcams will be referred to as “HD Pro Webcam C920,” and for others connected, as HD Pro Webcam C920 #2, etc. There may be more webcams depending on the number of USB ports available. If you use a wireless mouse and keyboard, and select the internal mic (not using an external USB mic such as the YETI), your webcam connections and choices will increase by available USB ports.
For SOUND Settings I used the Yeti Blue Mic (USB connected), or sometimes I will select the INTERNAL mic.
I do NOT recommend enlisting the Webcam mic as the hot zone threshold is LOW.
For side keyboard Panorama: C920HD1080, place the webcam on end block of piano, high treble side.
Close-up below: C920HD1080 (clipped to a music stand to the left of me) This sturdy stand can be elevated, and tilted down; pulled closer with its mounted webcam. I sometimes use it for trill close-ups.
LONGER side view of piano
For these side angles of the keyboard, I mount my Logitech webcam on a Koenig and Meyers music stand:
Another Perspective: The Overhead Keyboard View (already shown)
My Tutorial on how to install the horizontal mount to support a web cam:
During LIVE Lessons where a student is seated at the Baldwin, I might enlist an overhead keyboard view of my neighboring Steinway grand.
I recently added a second Alzo mount to a Targus 60″ tripod, to get a focused side angle view of my piano, allowing for a generous display of wrist and arm motions. (Note that depending on the amount of USB ports, a teacher can mobilize many keyboard views including the INTERNAL cam on a Mac: FaceTime, or PC)
My Student in Scotland recently used her iPhone to transmit an ONLINE Lesson when both SKYPE and FACE TIME on her Mac laptop gave very poor reception: The sound was remarkably good, but she might need a cell phone tripod to adjust the keyboard view.
For a pedal close-up, I activated my C920HD1080 with a floodlight beside my feet. It afforded an opportunity to graphically demonstrate legato pedaling. (You can see the student’s upright piano, and my pedal shown in the lower left box.) She had the full screen view of my foot on the pedal. We are working on “In the Church” by Tchaikovsky which requires sensitive, clear pedaling. A webcam attached to a nearby music stand can also be angled in such a way to provide a view of the hands on the keyboard and the pedal activation. (The teacher should experiment with various uses of the webcam and its flexibility)
For sound clarity, the Yeti mic is my preference over the Mac’s internal mic, and it’s an option on SKYPE and FACE TIME. For Skype, I tend to rely on the Yeti mic which is Mac compatible. If I record tutorials for students on Quicktime, I use the Yeti Mic option.
NOTE: The Logitech webcam has a built-in microphone that I do NOT activate for my Online piano lessons because it has a LOW HOT ZONE threshold. Similarly, when I record lessons in progress, I do not use the web cam mic. I use the Yeti microphone.
Here’s an adult student’s keyboard view beamed in from UK. She has the single panoramic perspective. She puts her Mac Air by the end block of her upright piano.
Having the multi-cam option improves the quality of web-transmitted lessons, benefiting both student and teacher.
LINKS–My piano room BEFORE the invasion of INCREASED TECHNOLOGY..
An effective side view to demonstrate trills and various light wrist dips for SHAPING them:
https://arioso7.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/technology-as-a-valuable-piano-teaching-tool/ (With three students’ reviews of Online private piano lessons)
OTHER, MISC. For ONLINE Students who do not Speak English