MTAC, music teachers association of california, piano blog, piano blogging, piano instruction, piano lessons by Face Time, piano lessons by Skype, piano teaching, Shirley Kirsten, Skype

SKYPE CALL RECORDER Playback views for Online Piano Lessons



Skype Call Recorder


Face Time Call recorder crop recent

Claire and Face Time Record Box


overhead and treble clef

My Newest Overhead Cam (72 inches high)

newest overhead 72%22

Still another upgrade: My Piano Room has TWO Overhead webcams in addition to a side view cam that’s mounted on a music stand.

my piano room best webcams recent
me under overhead cam

Overhead side view of Keyboard

overhead side view of piano


MY PRESENTATION coming up at the MTAC STATE CONVENTION: July 1, 2016

FLASHBACK: As prep for my presentation to the Music Teachers Association (Alameda Branch) that took place on May 11, 2015, I’d gathered a series of exemplary SKYPE Lessons demonstrating the technology to best advantage: “Teaching Piano by Skype: Braving a High-Tech Universe.”

Alameda Branch presentation

This prep and more recent updates will encompass my program at the Statewide Music Teachers Association (MTAC) Convention in Los Angeles, taking place July 1, 2016.

My plan is to project blogs on a big screen that have have embedded you tube videos with various captions for multiple playback views via Skype Call Recorder and Face Time Recorder.

HOW I STARTED OUT before the technology expanded. Here I’m seated at my Steinway Upright teaching a student in Greece using the INTERNAL CAM of my iMac Computer.

early skype lessons--This one to Greece


Example of webcam view choices: (I use the Logitech C920HD1080)

webcam listing


The Direction and Effect of Lighting on the keyboard during Online lessons. (I use the overhead view in this example)


The Details

When a student is watching his/her computer, she can see me in full screen, but as a lesson progresses, on my end I can RECORD the event using various views (LOCAL-me; REMOTE: the student; or SPLIT SCREEN-me and the student) These settings can be altered while a lesson is in progress without interruption. Changing views does not stop the recording process.

When I review and import the lesson footage to iMovie, I then upload it to You Tube and send the student a Lesson PLAYBACK with multiple keyboard views for increased pedagogical value.

Of particular value is the use of the Alzo Horizontal mount on a tripod to support an overhead keyboard view using an attached web cam.

My tutorial below refers to this particular overhead set up.

An Online teacher can also have addition web cam views by using a music stand as support, or he/she may mount a webcam on the end blocks of the piano. There are many possibilities to be explored.


Overview of the equipment and Online transmission by Skype from Berkeley, California to rural North Carolina: SKYPE CALL RECORDER is activated on this playback video.

The attached video below explores a Skype lesson from Berkeley, California to Staten Island, New York showing the various webcam views in progress.

J.C. Bach Prelude in A minor

JC Bach p1

Page 2

p2Preludein A minor

A Preceding Technique Lesson Segment (A minor scale and Arpeggio)

Teaching supplements

These were Video recorded supplements for Gayle re: the theory and Harmonic Rhythm of J.C. Prelude in A minor. They are embedded in the attached blog:

My Legato Pedaling segment included playing and naming A minor chords on each scale degree with an ear-training dimension, along with a harmonic Analysis of the first half of the J.C. Bach Prelude

This second segment examined part B with its string of Secondary Dominants:

About Gayle from Staten Island (She’s a transfer student with less than a preceding year of formal piano lessons)

A transplant from San Francisco to New York City (but originally from Chicago) Gayle made her first performance appearance in a SCREEN SHARE at our KICK-OFF SKYPE/LIVE piano recital. That meant she and all my piano students here and afar could watch Gayle in a pre-recorded segment. One other student, about to give birth did the same with Chopin’s C# minor Waltz thanks to the Miracle of Technology!

As it happened, I created Gayle’s video profile framing for her “Happiness” offering by Turk.

Gayle also made a transition from playing a digital piano, to acquiring a lovely Baldwin Acrosonic that was LANDED by FACE TIME, if you can believe!

Here’s how it played out from a first love meeting to marriage made in heaven (with my long distance matchmaker efforts)


OTHER video supplements, or TUTORIALS for ONLINE and LIVE Students

I will use the Quicktime Record applicationfor these tutorials. The selection of Keyboard views pertain. (Overhead, Side View, or Face Time: Mac Internal Face Time camera view)

In this video I demonstrate Staccato Parallel Thirds in the “Little Party,” La Petite Reunion by Burgmuller, Op. 100, No. 4. (I utilize the side keyboard view and the overhead for comparison)

Hand-Crossovers in a Domenico Scarlatti Sonata (Overhead keyboard view)

Scarlatti Sonata in A Major, K. 113



Multi-cam Views during Skype or Face Time Piano Lessons

My Overhead Web Cam adds to my Online accouterments

A North Carolina piano student by FaceTime talks about the ONLINE private lesson experience well before she visited me in Berkeley:

April feet

Sample Piano Lessons by FaceTime: From Berkeley CA, to North Carolina (Chopin Waltz in A minor Op. Posthumous)



After the N. Carolina student had a LIVE piano lesson in Berkeley CA, she compared it to her ONLINE experience in the presence of another LIVE student. (Laura)


Creating a Seamless legato in G# minor Arpeggios (Split Screen view)

A Berkeley to North Carolina Online lesson segment followed by a lesson snatch to Edinburgh, Scotland (B minor scale in Contrary motion) In the first segment I use a split screen teacher overhead view; In the second, I use a full screen LOCAL Overhead cam Teacher view.


The student from Scotland, recently IMPROVISED with her technology during a lesson when SKYPE and FACETIME had serious transmission issues. She came in on FACETIME through her iPhone.

REVIEWS of ONLINE lessons by other virtual students:

Sherry from Louisville, KY talks about her ONLINE lessons:

Marie, from Fresno, California talks about her Lessons on Face Time


Laura’s lesson segment (B minor scales) captured with webcam views of two pianos (Baldwin and Steinway grand)–I use my music stand that has easy rotation.

A more recent LIVE lesson in Berkeley uses webcam technology, recording the teacher and student in alternate sequence:




Earthquake Skype lesson video

Skype lesson/baby interruption (Alaska)

14 thoughts on “SKYPE CALL RECORDER Playback views for Online Piano Lessons”

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