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Using Zoom for Piano Lessons #2959798 03/23/20 11:36 AM
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Qwerty53 Offline OP

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Please let us gather here the useful info on how best to use Zoom teleconference software for piano lessons. My initial contribution: fixing the audio settings (n.b.: I have not given Zoom a credit card number, and I have been able to make the audio adjustments, but they may not be available on the IOS version of Zoom).

Make the audio adjustment in two steps:

(1) Go to Settings: Audio: ADVANCED (box in lower right), CLICK YES in the box for "Show in-meeting option to 'enable original sound' from microphone."
(On that same page I also DISABLE the two SUPPRESSION options. However, this MIGHT be redundant; possibly these are part of the audio processing you will eliminate inthe next step.)

(2)
THEN, when you are in a meeting, there will be an option (on my laptop it is upper left corner) to TURN ON ORIGINAL SOUND.

That's what you want to do.

I am using my laptop (Windows 10) webcam and mic/speakers; I'll report back when I can try out my new USB microphone. It is the AudioTechnica 2020+ USB microphone, recommended by Hugh Sung in the extremely helpful Cunningham Piano video on teaching piano online:


Currently at home with Mister Upright.
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Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2959817 03/23/20 01:06 PM
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I wish my teacher was tech savvy enough to do this...

Sam

Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2959828 03/23/20 01:51 PM
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bSharp(C)yclist Offline
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I don't think "Using Original Audio" will be available on a mobile device using Zoom, but I could be mistaken. I think first the host needs to enable the option, and then the participants make use of it.


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Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: bSharp(C)yclist] #2959830 03/23/20 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I don't think "Using Original Audio" will be available on a mobile device using Zoom, but I could be mistaken. I think first the host needs to enable the option, and then the participants make use of it.

This is true. I discussed with Zoom customer service. I even asked them to put in a "suggestion" ticket for me asking for it to be implemented on mobile devices.

For now, it is only available on Zoom on your computer, and you must use a credit card (even if you are not a paid subscriber).


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Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2959855 03/23/20 03:11 PM
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Qwerty53 Offline OP

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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
"Using Original Audio" ... you must use a credit card (even if you are not a paid subscriber).

Please try it out. I have not given Zoom a credit card number, and I do in fact have access to the Use Original Sound settings on my computer. So did a friend who helped me test last night: I set Zoom to Use Original Sound on my computer and she did so on hers. She confirmed that it made an improvement in the sound of my piano.

Some of the Zoom help files seem outdated; maybe this function was expanded later?

Screenshots on this page (scroll down) may be helpful.

I’ll update in a couple of days when my teacher and I have another go at an online lesson. Incremental and empirical learning!


Currently at home with Mister Upright.
Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2959871 03/23/20 04:20 PM
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I have a licensed Zoom account and a free one (without credit card). I logged into the portal with the free account and I do see the option to allow for Original audio.


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Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2959880 03/23/20 04:44 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Offline
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I emailed Tech Support and they haven't responded, but based on 3 of you saying you don't need a credit card for the "preserve original sound" feature, I assume they will just confirm what you found, that it's not necessary. I also asked them for confirmation that there is still no way to use "preserve original sound" on a mobile device.


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across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2959891 03/23/20 05:40 PM
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I plugged my H2N recorder into my Windows laptop to serve as my Mic, using the Headphone Output.

To enable original sound without a credit card:

First, click Host a meeting. Hover in the bottom left of the video window, and a microphone symbol will pop up. Click the up arrow next to it, Click on Audio Settings, click on Advanced in the lower right corner. At the top is a check box for ‘Show in-meeting option to “Enable Original Sound” from microphone’. Click this box.

When you start a meeting with the above setting checked, participants will see Turn On Original Sound in the upper left corner, meaning it is currently off. The default is off so meetings don't start out with everyone's microphone reproducing background noise, but that really messes with piano sound dynamics. When you click on Turn On Original Sound, it turns blue and changes to Turn Off Original sound, meaning it is on. Yes, this is confusing.

If the host/teacher has enabled this setting, then the Turn On/Turn Off Original Sound will appear in the upper left hand corner, and you just have to click it to turn on original sound.

If you are just going to be a participant and your teacher does not understand how to enable original sound, then you can change Suppress Persistent Background Noise and Suppress Intermittent Background Noise to Disable on the same page mentioned above. This is equivalent to Enable Original Sound. (If you then try to use Zoom for a regular conference call, your line may be noisy, and you'll need to come back to this page and set the suppression settings back to Auto.)

Thank you Qwerty for your explanation. This just provides some additional detail, courtesy of my partner in crime. I tested the sound quality of the piano and it works. Hope this clears up some of the inconsistent posts.

Others are correct that this will not work with tablets or smarphones, only laptop computers.



Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2959918 03/23/20 07:48 PM
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It’ll work on anything running Windows, so a tablet like a Surface Pro or one of the clones will be okay.

Just not an iOS or Android device.

Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2959940 03/23/20 10:12 PM
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Qwerty53 Offline OP

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How to attach AT2020 to a microphone stand. This afternoon my USB mic came; I ordered the one Hugh Sung suggests, Audio Technica 2020+ USB, from Sweetwater. Easy setup, except that I wanted to use my mic stand. The AT2020 comes with a teensy desktop tripod, and a connector that seems to fit only that (kind of looks like a camera mount, but not the same size). How does Tab A go in to Slot B?!

I reached out to a friend who has spent a lot of her life on stage (keyboards); she sent me to that useful link. Apparently I wasn't the only one who encountered this puzzle, but it's an easy fix! No adapter required, just a quarter, or maybe a nickel. Whew! Onward.


Currently at home with Mister Upright.
Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2959943 03/23/20 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Qwerty53
This afternoon my USB mic came; I ordered the one Hugh Sung suggests, Audio Technica 2020+ USB


I have one of these and think it’s pretty good. Do watch out for the trap for young players, though; even though the thing looks like it would work either way round, it has a front and a back side. It’s only sensitive from the front. A small discreet “BACK” label shows which is which.

If you find it is better at picking up the airplanes flying over or the neighbour’s dog barking than your piano, you might have it flipped!

Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: scirocco] #2960027 03/24/20 11:06 AM
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Qwerty53 Offline OP

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Thanks, Scirocco, good advice! There is a helpful demo of how this sounds in a video review here (at 1:50 in the review if my link doesn't take you directly there): AT2020 has a front and a back


Currently at home with Mister Upright.
Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2960675 03/26/20 12:29 PM
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Qwerty53 Offline OP

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My second Zoom lesson was really focused on playing the piano! We had spent the first one getting gear and settings sorted out. Here's what helped make it better:

-- I used my new USB mic ($150 for the Audio Technica 2020USB+ recommended in the Hugh Sung video);

-- changed Zoom settings on my laptop to Use Original Sound (this is a two step process, see earlier post; it is not available on IOS devices and unfortunately my teacher uses a Mac laptop, so her piano didn't sound great to me, but mine sounded okay to her);

-- made sure Zoom was NOT set for HD (high-definition video apparently eats up bandwidth that you need for the audio); we had much less screen freeze and stuttering than last time;

-- before the lesson, I recorded a piece (using my H2N recorder, and Audacity), saved it to Dropbox as an MP3 file, and "shared" with my teacher, sending her a link from my Dropbox file so she could listen before the lesson.

During the Zoom lesson, we listened to my recording together (next time we will try Zoom screen-sharing, but this time she just played it from her phone); she paused it frequently to point out what she wanted me to work on, demonstrated on her piano, and observed my faltering attempts with her usual patient good humor. It was great to be able to hear and watch her play; really helpful. We rarely do that in regular lessons because her two pianos are not side by side.

I'm so grateful for my piano and my lessons at this time!


Currently at home with Mister Upright.
Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2960762 03/26/20 04:31 PM
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These are great tips, thanks! My teacher had a poor experience with his first zoom lesson with stuttering and freezing. I’ll suggest checking the HD setting. I haven’t tried zoom yet with him as he’s also getting a mesh WiFi to help with general bandwidth issues, so I did a “video exchange” this week. We will see how that goes. I like the idea of sending video and then reviewing over zoom, that might be the key to making this work.


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Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2960864 03/26/20 10:51 PM
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I just finished my first Zoom lesson, with just a hiccup or two but really no big deal. First, I was waiting for my teacher in the virtual waiting room but somehow it disconnected me, saying that my teacher had ended the lesson, so I had to sign back into the waiting room again. Second, in the middle of our lesson, my teacher all of a sudden couldn't hear me for a minute or two. There were a few, "Hello? I can't hear you. Can you hear me?" That kind of thing. But no big deal.

No, it's not as good as in-person lessons but much better than the alternative, which is no lessons at all.

We had previously already fiddled with the technology so we spent all of my lesson time actually on lesson stuff. I can't wait for my next lesson.


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Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2960888 Yesterday at 02:02 AM
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Qwerty53 Offline OP

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Chrispy and WeakLeftHand, glad to hear it is coming together for your video lessons. It’s not the same as being at the piano together, but it is surprisingly “transparent” in the sense that after a while we weren’t thinking about the technology and we could concentrate on music and learning. It is such a gift at this time to be able to continue piano lessons!


Currently at home with Mister Upright.
Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2960963 Yesterday at 11:32 AM
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I had my first piano lesson on Zoom today and I also had a cello lesson on it this week. There were occasional problems with the connection, but mostly it went well. I used the iPhone and I am not sure I even need to use the PC with better equipment. I found the lessons more relaxing than normal lessons, probably because I did not have to travel...I even decided to go back to weekly piano lessons for now.

Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: outo] #2960985 Yesterday at 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by outo
I found the lessons more relaxing than normal lessons, probably because I did not have to travel...I even decided to go back to weekly piano lessons for now.


I suspect that if I didn't have to travel to my lessons, I’d end up missing less lessons. I wonder if my teacher will be open to occasional online lessons, during times when I otherwise would’ve missed that lesson. I will ask her.


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Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2961111 Yesterday at 09:01 PM
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I had my first piano lesson on Zoom today. It went fairly well. Thank you to all the people con here who gave hints on how to use it.


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Re: Using Zoom for Piano Lessons [Re: Qwerty53] #2961117 Yesterday at 09:19 PM
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I meant on here . My teacher said at the beginning, you will probably be happy to know that I am less picky on here than in person. It did cut in and out a little but he still seemed be to able to hear and see what I was playing fairly well.


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