5 tips for professional & efficient online lessons

What does a professional setup for online teaching look like?

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What does a professional setup for online teaching look like?

Wondering how to make your online classes more efficient and overcome pesky technical issues with multiple cameras? Then check out Ralf Gauck’s tips for teaching online.

Ralf Gauck is a bass player, book author, and lecturer at international workshops.

The “master of quiet tones” has played concerts all over Europe and worked at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in London and Rainbow Studios in Oslo with sound engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug.

The German Pop Foundation awarded him several times with the German Rock & Pop Award as the best German bass player with the first prize.

In our blog, he introduces you to his professional setup for online lessons with SIRIUS.

“I have the aspiration that my online teaching should be as good as my face-to-face teaching”

Ralf Gauck

Ralf Gauck’s Pro Setup:

1. Software

The possibility to create online lessons with a good sound for teachers and students and not worrying about DSGVO has always been my first concern when choosing my teaching software.

That’s why Sirius is the video conferencing system of my choice and is already the first and most important tip here. Exactly these two aspects led me to SIRIUS, because sound and data protection are central topics here.

In addition, I am very enthusiastic about the stability and ease of use of this system: my students do not have to be IT specialists to take part in my online lessons.

What good are the best cameras, the best microphones, the best lighting, and the best teachers if you constantly have to struggle with software and are thus hindered in the most important thing – the music lesson! 

2. Sound

  • The computer
    A powerful computer with sufficient memory is a must. Weaker computers get hot and eventually start to buzz.

  • The connection
    If possible, I recommend a LAN, or cable connection. This connection is secure and stable.

  • Microphone(s)
    For picking up my voice, I use microphones with hyper-cardioid or lobe characteristics. They are very good for this purpose and there are some mics of this design, with excellent quality and at affordable prices. (I don’t use a lavalier mic because it gets annoying over time to be wired to such a mic and “tethered” to the workstation with it).

  • The mixing console
    For picking up my voice, I use microphones with hyper-cardioid or lobe characteristics. They are very good for this purpose and there are some mics of this design, with excellent quality and at affordable prices. (I don’t use a lavalier mic because it gets annoying over time to be wired to such a mic and “tethered” to the workstation with it).

  • The room
    Reverberant rooms make speech unintelligible and thus demands a lot of concentration. The concentration that one does not have infinitely. A few heavy curtains and absorbers in the room can look nice and homely and can make a big difference to the sound in the classroom. Windows in the background are not only very inappropriate for sound, but also in many ways inadvisable for looks. A neutral, heavy curtain that is neutral in color and pattern is more purposeful.

  • The headphones
    I recommend using headphones
    1. loudspeakers built into a computer are usually not sufficient to reproduce music: low tones are usually reproduced poorly or not at all.

    2. the sound of the students would then be transmitted back to your microphone and the students would then hear themselves twice, but with a certain latency that cannot be avoided: the famous echo.

👉 Find out why latency can’t be avoided, unfortunately. Latency during teaching music, online

3. Image

  • The light
    No camera can produce a good image if there is not enough light: Therefore I advise you to buy a good light source that shines on you from the front, or even from the side. In the meantime, there are many good manufacturers of such video lights in LED design, which also do not consume much power.

  • The background
    As already described above, a neutral background without any patterns is the most sensible, simply because your students can then concentrate better.

  • The camera
    If you have considered these things, it does not have to be the most expensive camera. There are quite inexpensive cameras from manufacturers that come from the music industry and were produced for musicians. Make sure that your camera can use a wide-angle lens, only then can the students see you as a whole.

4. Video mixer

  • Why a video mixer? I use it to merge image and sound signals, as a final signal into the computer and then to my students.

     
  • Synchronization: The amount of data from video sources is usually much larger than the audio signal. Larger amounts of data take longer to travel a distance. This is why sometimes the image and audio are not transmitted to the students in sync. Almost all of these mixers now have a built-in function that synchronizes the sound with the image. Also, with such a mixer, I can control my different cameras and save the gymnastics during class.


    Fast alle dieser Mischpulte haben mittlerweile eine eingebaute Funktion, die den Ton mit dem Bild synchronisiert. Außerdem kann ich mit einem solchen Mischpult meine unterschiedlichen Kameras steuern und spare mir die Turnübungen während des Onlineunterrichts.

Extra computer
For me, such a console has another big advantage: I can connect an extra computer to such a console. There I can run my music software and show it to the student during the online lesson. (This computer does not have to have the same technical requirements as the computer with which I go on the Internet).

5. Methodology and the own claim

  • Dealing with latency
    I have the aspiration that my online teaching should be as good as face-to-face teaching. Of course, we have to deal with latency in online classes.

    But who says that I necessarily have to play together with the students? Doesn’t a prepared playback do the trick? A recording, so to speak, that I send to the students in advance of the online lesson and with which they then play together in class. Ultimately, the methodical effect remains the same, namely making music together.

  • Technically clear path
    If I want to show the students a certain playing technique in class, I must not be slowed down by too few camera angles. I use three cameras and notation software in class.

  • Carefree
    The fun factor is the most important thing for everyone involved. I don’t want to waste a thought on possibly being warned off for using software that violates the GDPR and neither I nor my students know what is happening with our data.

Ralf Gauck’s Pro Setup
online music lessons:

Sound:

Zoom L8 oder Zoom L12

Tascam Mixcast 4

Microphones:

Rode NT5 oder Rode NTG 2

Sennheiser MKE 600 oder Sennheiser MKH 416 P48

Neumann TLM 102

AKG C 414

Interface:

RME Fireface

PreSonus Audiobox USB

Headphones:

Grbass I6

Beyerdynamik DT 1770

Beyerdynamik DT 770 pro

Light:

Aputure Amaran ALF 7

Aputure Amaran P 60x

Godox SL 150 II

Aputure Light Dome Mini II

Cameras:

Zoom Q2n 4k

Zoom Q8n 4k

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema 4K & Meike Objektive

Video mixer:

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini oder Mini Pro

Roland V-02 HDMKII

Computer:

Apple MacBook Air

RAZER Blade 15 Profi

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