CREATED: 04.03.2024UPDATED: 09.03.2024

How to Teach Piano Lessons Online With BlurBay

How to Teach Piano Lessons Online With BlurBay

By following nine clear steps, you can create the setup that allows you to deliver piano lessons online in one-to-one or masterclass settings.

You tickle the ivories like a pro, so much so that you feel like you’re ready to offer piano lessons to students. There’s just one problem – there are over 13,500 piano teachers in the United States, which means you face a lot of competition.

Taking your lessons online is the solution.

When you teach piano lessons online, you overcome a major hurdle in finding students – having them come to you – and make your lessons accessible to a national (or even international) audience rather than a local one. You just need to get set up. Read on to discover what you can do to provide quality piano lessons online.

Wait…Why Teach Piano Lessons Online in the First Place?

It’s a valid question, especially for established piano teachers who are used to the single-student setup where they receive an hourly rate for teaching students one-on-one. That setup works and can be profitable. But it also carries limitations that teaching online eradicates, as the following reasons to do it will show you.

Reason 1 – No Locational Boundaries

As a traditional piano teacher, you have a sort of “territory” that you stick to. The odds are that most of your students – if not all – come from a small mile radius around your home or studio. It’s just too inconvenient for people who live further afield to commute to spend an hour of their time with you.

The problem for you is that this territorial setup severely limits your profitability.

You can only teach people who live nearby, so you’re stuck with a small subsection of potential students and may even face “dry periods” when nobody seems to want to learn.

When you go online, you branch out your reach to the point where you can reach millions, rather than dozens, of potential pupils. You go global – reaching students who may never have heard of you otherwise.

Reason 2 – Convenience for Students, and Yourself

Convenience is an obvious plus point for your students.

When you teach piano online – especially via a platform like BlurBay – you’re essentially uploading lessons that students can consume whenever they see fit. That’s what most prefer in the online teaching model. In fact, 69% of students say they prefer learning via “asynchronous classes,” (classes that don’t have set schedules) if they’re going to learn online.

Factor in the lack of travel required to attend a lesson and you have a clear convenience win that’s going to lead more students to your piano lessons.

But that convenience doesn’t just benefit students.

It benefits you, too.

Think about it – you don’t have to travel to students either. Plus, you don’t have to worry about creating, or maintaining, a classroom or sticking to a schedule in the same way a traditional tutor must. You record whenever it’s convenient to you and can even halt recording – using editing software to tie your lessons together – when needed.

Reason 3 – Consistent Passive Income

A traditional piano lesson is a “one-and-done” affair.

You turn up, teach for an hour or two, and collect your money. That’s where one of the big limitations of the offline model comes into play – you’re trading your time for money directly, with no additional earnings on the backend.

Switching to become a web piano teacher changes that setup somewhat.

Yes, you’ll still have to dedicate time to creating your videos. Plus, you’re not getting paid upfront for that time spent recording and editing a lesson into something valuable.

That’s the downside.

But swallowing that time loss has a massive upside. Once you upload your lesson, it’s available to students for as long as you keep it on BlurBay. That means a lesson you recorded several years ago could continue making money today as long as you keep attracting students to it.

Become a Web Piano Teacher – The Key Steps

The trick to teach piano lessons online with BlurBay is in preparation. You could rush ahead and start shooting videos right now, but the results aren’t going to be lesson-worthy, and certainly not purchase-worthy for potential students.

Investing time – and a little money – into getting set up to record great lessons is the key, which is where these steps come in.

Step 1 – Get the Right Equipment

Whether you’re providing live piano lessons over Zoom or intend to record lessons as part of pre-packaged courses, you need two key pieces of equipment – a suitable camera and a microphone.

A laptop offers both, though it comes with disadvantages. For instance, the webcam in a laptop is stuck at the top of the screen, forcing you to awkwardly mess with the entire device when you’re trying to change angle – not ideal when focusing on the keys, for instance. Similarly, the microphones built into most laptops may be suitable for conversations, but they may not catch every note you or your students play.

So, going external is the best option in both cases.

A portable webcam should do the job for the filming side, though you could use more professional options if you’re willing to invest more. As for external microphones, you need to consider filming angles and your device’s settings. Place the mic towards the treble side of your piano to capture high notes (bass notes will still come through regardless of the distance) and make sure you set your external microphone as your “Input” on your laptop. Here’s how to do that for Windows and Mac laptops:

  • Windows – Go to “Start,” click “Settings” and select “System.” Choose “Sound” from the options before navigating to the “Input” section so you can select your microphone as the input device.
  • Mac – Open the Apple menu and select “System Settings.” Navigate to and choose “Sound” and click the “Input” option on the right side of the screen. From here, you can select the mic you want to use.

Let’s say you want to lean deeper into the professional side.

That’s likely going to require a multi-camera setup, which is capable of capturing a side view, a bird’s eye view of your keys, your pedal, and perhaps even a separate camera recording the sheet music. This can be complicated to set up. Plus, it will require you to spend more time in the editing room to flip between the footage that’s most useful in terms of the point you’re making to your students. Tripods, standalone cameras, and a tripod boom for your microphone are all recommended here, though you can expect to invest well over $1,000 to get all of that together.

Don’t have the funds for that professional setup?

That’s okay – we find that many BlurBay students are happy to learn from somebody who’s less “professional” as long as they know what they’re talking about. Perhaps start your web piano teacher career with the basics, upgrading as you go until you have a setup that rivals anybody.

Step 2 – Test Before You Record

You have your equipment.


Do you know how to use it to actually record suitable footage of you playing and delivering your online piano lessons? Or – perhaps more importantly – have you got your equipment set up in a way that ensures it captures sound and visuals appropriately for your students?

Perhaps not, which is why we recommend creating a test video before you start recording your first lesson.

This video doesn’t have to be something that you put online. It doesn’t even have to be a lesson. Instead, it’s an experiment in which you set up as you think you need to, hit record, and then run through a few scales while talking. The reason being, you can watch the resulting video back to check for little technical glitches you might not have caught otherwise.

Maybe the mic isn’t positioned so it picks up notes in a high register. Perhaps you’ve gotten the angle wrong on a bird’s eye camera and it’s not showing all of the keys. These are the little technical setup errors that could make the hours you spend creating a lesson worthless.

So, trust us – spend five minutes running an equipment test before you sit down to record a lesson. Once you know everything’s up and running as it should be, you’ll be confident that you won’t end up recording an unusable lesson that goes into your computer’s recycle bin.

Step 3 – Choose an Appropriate Web Platform

The platform you use for your piano lessons depends on how you intend to deliver those lessons.

Let’s start with the traditional way – one-on-one sessions with your students. Immediately, you may have to make some concessions in terms of interactivity. For instance, the devices you and your student use may create lag in the conversation – as may your internet connection – so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to play together simultaneously. Assuming you’re happy with that restriction, platforms such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Facetime do an adequate job of allowing you to video chat with your students and teach lessons.

However, some teachers may prefer to offer video courses and tutorials that show people how to play without direct one-to-one tuition involved.

If that sounds like you, your options open up. The obvious platform choices here are YouTube and Facebook – both freely accessible to students and offering easy uploading. But you won’t be able to monetize lessons on those platforms effectively (ad revenue from YouTube is minimal), so they’re best used for short clips and marketing.

Choose an Appropriate Web Platform

BlurBay is a better option for non-interactive video courses and tutorials. The platform allows you to upload videos easily and place them behind a paywall, meaning piano students have to pay a fee (determined by you) to access the full video. You can even use the video as a teaser – allowing a small portion of it to play before it blurs – and the site only takes a 5% commission in exchange for hosting the video. That also makes it a good choice for people who are considering setting up their own websites to host their piano lessons but don’t have the funds to do so.

It all comes down to how you want to deliver your piano lessons.

Make the choice between a “masterclass” format or a traditional one-to-one style of teaching and select the appropriate platform for the job.

Step 4 – Establish Your Online Piano Lesson Etiquette

Etiquette is essential to ensuring your piano lessons run smoothly. But how far you need to account for it depends on the style of lesson you create.

For instance, etiquette is less of a concern in the masterclass format. You’re the only speaker – your students don’t interact with you live – so you only need to worry about presenting information clearly and indicating when students should listen and when they should play. It’s worth indicating when a student should pause the video to practice a piece you’ve delivered, giving them a chance to play and learn at their own pace.

Establish Your Online Piano Lesson Etiquette

For one-to-one online lessons, held live, etiquette is more of a concern. The lesson could descend into chaos if teacher and student start talking or playing over each other. Here are a list of quick rules you can set for your students to ensure time isn’t wasted during lessons:

  • Ensure neither student nor teacher talks over each other at any point. For instance, you could set up a “call and response” lesson structure in which you deliver part of the lesson and then give the student a chance afterward to ask questions.
  • Tell your students that they should only play when specifically instructed, as this ensures you have a chance to make your points fully and, when needed, complete demonstrations.
  • Make sure all involved have their input devices set up properly and, crucially, that both student and teacher talk and play directly into that device.

Put those rules in place early – reinforcing them as you go through your own behavior – and you overcome issues such as lag and poor sound quality.

Step 5 – Create Lesson Plans Ahead of Time

When students have lesson plans made available to them ahead of time, their learning outcomes generally improve for several reasons. They’ll understand what each lesson means in the context of their larger goals – such as why they need to spend time understanding theory as well as playing – and they’ll be able to anticipate and prepare for your next lesson ahead of time.

So, create a lesson plan.

But how you deliver this plan will vary depending on your method of teaching.

For the masterclass format, it’s helpful to group videos together into extended lessons – with defined outcomes – so you can create a lesson plan by simply describing what each of your videos covers. This can also be a sales tactic – students are more likely to purchase your video when they know precisely what it contains.

One-to-one teachers can take a more fluid approach based on their student’s progress. But even then, it helps to define what you’ll cover in your next lesson after finishing your current one. You could reserve time at the end of each lesson to discuss progress or take time to consider what comes next before emailing a lesson plan to the student ahead of their next online piano session.

Create Lesson Plans Ahead of Time

Step 6 – Set Simple Goals With Your Lessons

There’s a temptation that you have to avoid when you teach piano lessons online:

Taking advantage of the video format to create massive lessons that cram so much in that they become tiresome.

Yes, you have the freedom to create these “mega-lessons.” And yes, your students also have the ability to take breaks and stop for the day once they’ve purchased your lesson. But by going the long route, you’re doing two things that are detrimental to your efforts to teach piano online:

  • Taking the satisfaction of completing a lesson or goal from students
  • Limiting your profitability

In terms of profitability, you’ll naturally want to charge more for longer videos because of the amount of work that went into making them. That’s going to be a problem for students – they’ll see a higher price tag compared to other tutors on their lists and move on from you. Frankly, we find it’s easier to sell smaller lessons than longer ones, especially if you can break complex topics up into multi-video chunks.

That’s the makings of a full course there!

As for the satisfaction aspect, consider this:

According to Gallup, 70% of Americans set goals for themselves in 2023.

The message here is that most people feel like they thrive when they have a specific goal to aim towards. Something nebulous – such as learning how to play piano – isn’t going to cut it. When you teach piano online, you want the goals to be more attainable. Learn a specific scale. Discover how to read sheet music. These are smaller goals that give your students a sense of achievement once completed, are perfect for the shorter video format, and still feed into the much larger goal of learning how to play piano.

Simply put – shorter is almost always better with online piano lessons. So, pick a goal for the lesson and structure your video around attaining that goal.

Step 7 – Make the Score (And Your Notes) Available

You want to ensure you and your students are “singing from the same hymn sheet” at every stage of your lesson. With piano lessons, that comes down to making something simple available – the score.

Assuming you’re going down the “masterclass” route, there are a few options you can take here. The simplest is to display the score at the start of the video, though that may cause difficulties for students who don’t have the score available themselves and thus have to keep going back to the start of the video to see it. Better options are to make your scores available as separate downloads or to tell students which scores they need to buy (or where they can find the score online) before you start.

Both of those approaches also work in the one-to-one setting. But you have the added benefit of being able to add notes to scores as you go, based on the student’s progress. The etiquette here is simple – always show the score clearly on your camera whenever you make a note so your student can copy it and work from it.

BlurBay can help with this!

In addition to allowing you to upload videos, the platform also allows you to sell downloadable content in any format you choose. PDFs, images, audio files, and any other type of document can be provided to supplement your lessons and make you a little extra money on the side.

Step 8 – Determine a Payment Method

This is one area of providing piano lessons that is both more complicated and more flexible than offering in-person lessons.

With the latter, taking payments is simple – the student shows up and pays their money once the lesson is delivered. But online, you have the options of bank transfers, online payments through providers like PayPal, and, if you’re willing to take the risk, having students post cash or checks physically.

Avoid the last option wherever possible as too many things can go wrong and you may lose out. With the others, implementation is key as you need to show your students that they can trust the payment methods you provide. For instance, some may be wary of bank transfers because of the limited protection they receive – difficulties getting refunds – whereas PayPal and similar providers have built-in mechanisms to protect both students and teacher.

There’s also another option – have your platform provider handle the payment side for you. The previously mentioned BlurBay works well in this regard. You don’t have to worry about setting up payments. Students purchase videos using the secure payment processing the site already offers, allowing you to simply collect your money and your students to pay via a trustworthy method.

Step 9 – Keep Your Equipment Updated

Once you’re set up, the only thing that can get in the way of your successful delivery of piano lessons is your equipment.

In some cases, these issues are unavoidable. Physical maintenance issues, such as loose wiring in an external microphone, force repairs or new purchases. But often, you can solve equipment issues by simply updating your hardware and software whenever you’re prompted to do so. On the technical level, this ensures your device (be it a phone or laptop) has the appropriate drivers in place to use your external equipment effectively. Plus, staying updated means you have the most secure versions of your software packages operating – vital for boosting student confidence.

Preparation Makes It Easier to Teach Piano Lessons Online

Preparation Makes It Easier to Teach Piano Lessons Online

Teaching piano lessons online is as much about how you prepare as it is about your personal playing ability. Even a virtuoso will struggle to monetize their skills through lessons if they don’t have the right equipment, platform, or lesson planning skills.

These nine steps help you set up and support you in your ongoing lesson delivery. But remember one crucial thing – your lessons are always about your students. Adapt to their needs (or make sure you cover them in the course and masterclass settings) and your lessons will gain traction to the point where more people trust you as their web piano teacher of choice. To get started, check out BlurBay today to discover just how easy it is to turn your videos into paid content that allows you to monetize your ability to tickle the ivories.

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