Zoom lesson tips

Dear Friend, If this is your first time taking a lesson on Zoom, congratulations! You are welcoming a new experience and showing how adventurous you are. I hope these tips will help you be more comfortable.

Yours, Hsing-ay

Preparation:

At least 24 hours in advance, please scan your music and email me. If that is impossible, email me the exact title/opus #/composer/edition of your piece.

Tech set-up:

1. AUDIO INPUT so I can hear you better:

If you don't have a good external mic yet, then I would love to ask that you to pre-record your scales and pieces. You can either use your phone and forward to my email, or video- record via laptop using the Zoom app and attach the file to an email. (If your email size is limited, gmail accounts will automatically convert a large file into a google drive link. You can also use dropbox.) We will watch this together one segment at a time.

If you are willing to create your own Zoom account with a name and password, then you can enable "original sound" that is not compressed. Sign in to the Zoom web portal. In the navigation panel, click Settings (under Personal). Click the Meeting tab. Under "In Meeting (Advanced)", check the box that will "Allow users to select original sound in their client settings is enabled".

If you're adventurous/advanced, then invest in an external USB mic. Blue Yeti mike is the most popular. Blue Snowball at $50 is a good cheaper option.

If you already have Zoom H1 hand recorder, you can plug it in. Place your mic in the crook of the piano with the lid fully open for the best instrumental sound.

(Blue Yeti $130: Tighten the two stand screws so it's vertical, start gain dial at 10 o'clock, start the "pattern" dial at 1 o'clock cardiod (upside down heart shape), plug into laptop, go to Zoom bottom left to mic icon then select "Yeti" for your input. The Yeti should stand vertically straight up at mouth level. )

Please keep your mic at least 2 feet away from your computer speakers to avoid echos.


2. AUDIO OUTPUT to hear me better:

Zoom had a major audio upgrade in versions 5.2.2. and higher.

On your control dashboard next to the mic icon, you will find an "^" arrow. Click on that to reveal the menu. Click on Audio Settings.

  • Adjust your input and output volume as desired

  • Unclick “automatically adjust mic volume.”

Click the “Advanced” button, usually lower right corner.

  • Set both “suppress background noise” options to “low" or "disable

  • Check the box “enable original sound”; this avoids distortion of music

  • Set Echo Cancellation to “auto.”

During our meetup, if you see “turn on original sound” on your screen, click it.

If you can plug in a USB speaker, I use the OontZ Angle 3 Ultra. Click on audio settings on the lower left corner to select your speaker. Keep the speaker close by, 1-2 feet away from your ears, and remember to adjust the volume.

You may also like earphones. I like the Grado Labs Prestige Series SR225 that are currently discontinued but there are used ones available.


3. VIDEO: Click on the link I send you and allow 5 minutes for a quick app download for a better audio quality than browsers. Click the link in advance anytime you want to get used to the set up and camera angle.

Make sure both your smile and your hands are visible in the camera. I recommend a side table with a box on top, or a music stand that adjusts to a horizontal angle. Make sure bright windows and lights are in front of you, not behind. We can adjust camera angle for pedaling as needed.

4. CONNECTION: On the lower left corner, make sure the mike and camera icons do NOT have a line through them, and press "Join Audio" if you see it. Ask your house mates not to use WiFi during this hour, as it will weaken your device's WiFi connection.

If you can't join a Zoom session with the Zoom app (perhaps because your Zoom isn't upgraded), or you get a glitch message that host is in a different room, click END, then join in a web browser like Chrome. Click the Zoom link from email or copy the link and paste it into a browser. In the Open Zoom Meetings window, click 1) Cancel and then 2) start from your browser.


5. You can adjust Sound Level for input and output by using the Audio Settings button on lower left corner. Check that your power cord is plugged in.


Follow-up:

If you had any difficulty or wifi issue, it's ok. Email me. Let's trouble shoot to make it better next time.

Stretch, rest your eyes, and relax your ears. Trying a new experience can make your body tense. Drink water. Celebrate your growth and progress!

Hsing-ay Hsu ©2021 thenutmegstudio@gmail.com