What is online learning? Why is it important?
Online learning is a rapidly growing education trend that is gaining popularity among students and educators alike. The global e-learning industry is projected to surpass $243 billion in 2022 and reach $336.98 billion by 2026. It can be used as an alternative to traditional classroom-based learning or as a supplement to in-person instruction. Online courses allow you to study at your own pace, on your own schedule, and from anywhere in the world.
Online learning offers many benefits over traditional classroom-based instruction, including:
You can complete an online course whenever and wherever you want. You don't have to plan around someone else's schedule or commute to campus every day. You can even complete an entire degree or certificate without ever leaving your home!
Online programs are usually much less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. This makes them ideal for working adults who may not have time for traditional college classes, but still want the benefit of an education degree or certification that will help them advance their careers.
Online programs make it easier for people to access education. Most online courses come with video tutorials, sample tests and other tools that make it easy for students to follow along and access course material when needed. This makes learning more comprehensive.
The true beauty of online learning is that it lends itself perfectly to your lifestyle. By its very nature, it can fit around you.
Also, no longer are we taught how to do a job, it’s usually a case of figuring it out for yourself—and that’s where online learning can amplify your skills. In the same spirit, gone are the days when you pick one industry or role and stick to it for the rest of your life. It’s much more common—and accepted—to move from company to company, or even industry to industry. Keeping your skills up to date is essential if that’s the path you take.
What is the relevance of online learning in the music field?
1.Are impressively low at cost:
Online learning programs tend to be less expensive than traditional ones because they don't require you to travel. You can cut down expenses related to rent or sharing your earnings when affiliated with music schools. This means you'll save money on travel expenses, rent or any other additional costs related to conducting classes regularly at a music centre. This also applies to learners in the music field. Where they cut down on their travel cost and learn directly from anywhere with ease.
2.Recorded sessions for umpteen references:
Pre-recording a session can be useful for both the instructor and learner. As an instructor you don’t have to worry about your learners just attending your class once to understand what you have taught. Recorded video, sessions or courses pave the way for learners to go back and learn a particular key/note which they may struggle with and also gives them space for self paced learning. Self paced learning is great for learners as it gives them the opportunity to learn at their own pace and understanding and helps them master music in their field.
Learners can choose teachers based on his/her profile and availability of time slots. Learners can study at their convenience (anytime) and place (at home or office) with the help of video conferencing platforms such as Skype or Zoom or Google Hangouts etc. Teachers can use screen sharing softwares like Team Viewer for demonstration purposes during lessons. Teachers can also upload their lessons on YouTube which means that students can access them anytime they want.
Online learning has become popular and relevant as it gives us access to education from anywhere. Music education is no different. As a musician or someone who wants to learn music, you can now do so by taking lessons online. With online music programs learners can choose to learn from international schools as well which gives musicians and music teachers the opportunity to provide their music lessons or showcase their talent at a global level. It also gives musicians or music teachers the opportunity to collaborate with international artists.
5.Personalised learning experience:
Every student is unique and every student needs to be guided in a manner that will make online learning more comprehensive. Music sessions are no different. With a physical class an instructor has to teach in a manner that may be suitable for all, which means some may be benefitted some may not or some may progress while others may struggle. But with online learning platforms and tools it is easy to personalise the learning experience for every learner by crafting courses that will suit every individual's needs.
Do online music lessons work?
In a world that’s constantly evolving, it’s important for businesses to stay on top of new trends and innovations. In particular, the rise of digital music streaming services has opened the opportunity for new ventures to emerge: specifically, online music academies.
These types of establishments have grown in popularity over the last few years as more people take their careers in music seriously and begin to invest in their craft. What one must realise is that they have talent and people are searching for professional, experienced, talented and reliable teachers to pursue their music education. Students who do not have access to a music conservatory can still benefit from your online masterclasses. Online, music classes also offer an opportunity for students to watch their teachers in real-time just like the traditional classes.
After the COVID-19 scenario the world has majorly adjusted to a hybrid model and is searching the internet for online courses in every field. People have immensely used this opportunity to monetise their skills and have begun to adopt the e-learning system of teaching.
Also, online music lessons have opened the doors for globalisation of music genres. One could be sitting in one country and learning their native music while specialising in another country’s native music or folk. Basically, you can teach music beyond geographical limitations.
So, yes online music lessons do work and many musicians have already started offering their expertise online.
How does one teach music online?
1.Determine what you want to teach:
The very first step is to discover where your skills can make a difference. You simply cannot teach anything and expect to produce a suitable income from it. Start by asking yourself questions like - do you want to teach others to play a specific genre? Are your music lessons curated towards beginners or experienced learners or both? What will your learners gain after completing your music course? These questions will help you determine the purpose of your music academy/ course.
2.Structure your curriculum:
Your online music course must be complete, teaching your students everything from A-Z. While structuring your curriculum it should consist of theory, reference notes, lessons, live classes, video records to help your learners read, understand and play music. It can start with an introductory lesson followed by navigation through different music sheets and building of technique. Look through various online platform resources that provide different features that can help you structure your curriculum with quizzes, assessments, simulations, integrations etc.
3.Choose a medium:
Record your sessions / conduct live classes. Music tutorial videos can be recorded and structured into various levels or parts. Or have the entire course conducted via live classes. If you want it to be theoretical then create textbooks, downloadables, worksheets, workbooks. Or have just workshops to teach and give basic insights in music. Only when you choose the right medium to deliver your content will you be able to reach your audience better.
4. Build a community:
Communities are required both before and after building an academy. To reach and build your audience you need to showcase your courses before them. The best way to do it is by providing freebies or trial classes, this in turn helps you build an email list. Once you reach your target audience, have a community where learners can interact, discuss or learn from each other.
5.Market your lessons:
Valuables are the best way to market your lessons. As a newbie in the music teaching space you need to show your craft to people for them to consider your online music academy. Ebooks, free sessions, workshops, trial classes, content preview are some ways to go about it. Other sources to leverage for marketing your online music school are social media and websites. Creating a presence on social media can help you market your courses better. Also, building a website with a dedicated marketing or sales page can help you get traction.
Steps to creating a successful online music business
Starting an online music school does require a solid business blueprint.
1.Create a business plan:
The first step to creating your online music business is drafting a clear business plan.
- Start by determining the startup cost and cap your budget for the online music school.
- Your area of expertise will help determine your target customers.
- Have the right pricing strategy in place by taking into account an apt course price.
- Considering the equipment cost is a must for your online music business. Equipment can be pertaining to recording, musical instruments, online platforms, softwares etc.
- Marketing online music lessons is a key aspect to place yourself in the online music field.
- Financial planning for your online music business is the most essential part while setting up your business. To have a successful online business your financial plan has to be well planned and clearly drafted.
2.Research on building your audience:
Understand what your target audience is looking for. The internet is a place with access to a lot of free resources and the biggest hub is YouTube. But what is that one unique or quality aspect your audience is looking for that you can provide? If you can crack this question you can start building your audience by placing your material in front of them by marketing your online music courses with the right strategy.
3.Have a brand for yourself:
Web presence is a must if you want to create a brand in your name. Social media will help you market your courses but your audience needs to know more about you and what you have to offer and this can be achieved through a professional website. Your online music teaching website is one of the first places your audience can search for you.
4.Set quarterly/yearly goals for your academy:
Every business must have goals set-up. Setting up quarterly goals or yearly goals for your online music academy business will help you understand the trajectory of your business, help you improve your structure and work towards your vision and most importantly will help you analyse where your business is headed. Based on your end goal you can structure a more detailed business plan that can address practical issues in depth.
5.Plan on pricing:
Online learning isn’t new which means that competition already exists. Planning on music course pricing is very crucial. Not only will pricing grab your audience’s attention but will also determine the sustainability of your business. Start with nominal pricing it will help you understand where you should stand in the market. You can structure your pricing by categorising your courses as individual courses, personal training or group sessions with monthly subscriptions.
6.Create a market strategy:
Market strategies are a must to make yourself known to your target audience. You cannot build an online music school and expect to be found. The best way is by offering freebies, trial classes etc.
Mistakes made while starting your online music academy
Starting an online music academy or school can be overwhelming sometimes. Addressed below are some common mistakes newbies may make when venturing out for the first time.
1.Failure to choose the right genre:
As musicians you would like to stand out from the crowd by carving your own niche. Failure to have a consistent niche may cause your brand to lack consistency on a whole. When you don’t categorise your music or fail to choose the right genre you inevitably fail to define your brand. You must choose a genre that will define your brand.
2.Investing in low music sound quality:
One of the most common mistakes newbies make is not having the best music sound quality. When your courses don’t have the best sound quality in place you may either fail at retaining students or fail to pick up in the online music field. Let’s say, a visitor previews your trial courses and the sound quality isn’t that great. Do you think they will go ahead with purchasing your course? Poor sound quality can be due to low-quality equipment, too much background noise in your recorded lessons etc. If you plan and budget your online music business well you can get top-quality audio under affordable prices.
3.Not giving priority to email list building:
Many music teachers fail to understand the power of email marketing. People still check their emails everyday and that cancels out the notion that email marketing is an old technique. Leveraging email marketing to promote and grow your online music brand is one of the best ways to grow your academy. If you’re wondering how to acquire email addresses to build your email list, start by providing freebies or trial sessions in exchange for your audience’s email address. And in no time you will have a strong email list ready.
4.Not utilising social media platforms:
The internet has given us access to many useful tools and platforms, one such platform is social media. The world practically lives on social media and that is a great way to leverage organic traffic for your online music academy. Many beginners fail to realise that social media is staple food for generating traffic for your online music academy. Once you’ve built a social presence you can nurture leads (potential students) and brand yourself. Try joining platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; these platforms are a great starting point to generate leads and grow exponentially.
Online music school examples
When you start a music school there are many approaches to it. You could be shifting your base from offline to online mode or you could be starting new. In either case you can follow the standard way of running the online institute or explore different approaches to run your academy online.
SaPa has been part of the music industry for almost two decades, teaching both instruments and vocals. Their approach to online music is plain and simple, to give their students a live experience through their online classes. Let’s see how SaPa has built their online music academy:
- SaPa’s business model is bifurcated into four categories - live classes, self paced learning, master classes and being integrated with schools.
- Live classes: Their online classes are structured for both individual and group learning, where a learner can chart their learning path under a structured curriculum by consulting an expert. Provide the flexibility of timing and also provide the first session free for their audience. The audience continues with SaPa only if they have enjoyed their first session and subsequently pays for the remaining sessions.
- Self-paced learning: Their pre-recorded course is segmented into SaPa legends and instructor courses. Apart from that they also have parent - toddler programs to help grow the bond amongst the family. They have music experts and celebrities teach their learners.
- Master class: Their master classes are more of music workshops conducted by legends or celebrities in the music industry.
- SaPa in schools: This business model of SaPa is an offline model where they have integrated their music academy with schools for coaching young learners in music.
SaPa features revolve around providing tips for learners in their chosen field, articulating learning materials, designing activities, assignments, incorporating structured and standardised syllabus, showcasing students talent on social media as well as providing personalised learning.
Their main resource is through videos, live classes, PDFs and textbooks while navigating their learners through a structured curriculum from basic to advanced levels in every category. They used the opportunity of online learning to explore different learning approaches and have made the most out of it by building a proper online music academy.
Performers Collective has approached online music learning in a very different way. They have been part of the music industry for two decades, coaching students in various instruments and vocals. But apart from instrument and vocal training they also prepare students for various music exams and organise concerts for students to participate and showcase their talent. Let’s see how they have built their online music academy:
- Performers Collective’s business model has four categories - on campus, live online, video courses and exams.
- On campus: They nurture a holistic and creative approach to music learning by maintaining ensemble practices with custom tailored learning experience in their hybrid learning campus.
- Live online: This program is aimed at training audiences at a global level via online sessions. They have sessions dedicated to theory, writing and reading aspects of music. Their level based class structure incorporates individualised learning and one-to-one mentoring.
- Video courses: This program involves pre-recorded courses that are aimed at helping students learn at their own pace.
- Exams: Their exams model helps their students to prepare for graded or diploma based exams conducted by various international boards like Trinity College London, RSL Awards (Rockschool) and A.B.R.S.M.
Performers Collective features involve covering eight key areas in music through level based courses (foundation, intermediate and advanced levels), teaching essential aspects of performance (like posture, technique, styles, music reading, improvisations and repertoire building), participative and practical learning through concerts, workshops by eminent personalities in the music field along with associate diploma and licentiate diploma programs. They not only provide a live class experience with theory but cover end-to-end aspects in music by encouraging students to practically apply their learnings.
Strarts believes in empowering various forms of art be it music, dance, craft etc. They believe in providing a one-stop solution for art and entertainment by blending art with technology to standardise the art industry with career opportunities. Let’s see how they have built their online music academy:
- Strarts business model revolves more on standardised and industry leaders set syllabus.
- Their curriculum is personalised, evaluated along with practice driven learning.
- They address sixteen key areas in the art industry including music and instrumentation with certified learning for different grades/levels.
- Every course is opportunity led where learners are given a chance in the art industry to make their passion their profession.
- Strarts has utilised online learning to empower students in various forms of art.
Three different online music schools have used conventional teaching methods to blend in their own approach to teaching music to a broader community of learners both on a local scale and global level.
Monetise your skills
Opportunities are endless when it comes to online teaching and especially in the field of music. As mentioned earlier, people are looking to learn your talent. They are looking to learn from a professional who is reliable and has experience. This is a great opportunity to monetise your skills. Teaching music online gives you the possibility to earn more while working less and at convenience.
Teach online with EdisonOS
Now that you have an idea of how to start your music school online you must be wondering which platform can be suitable for you. EdisonOS is a great choice to establish your vision. Not just individual courses, you can power an entire music academy online with the platform.
1.Create music content that is unique:
EdisonOS supports various formats of content material. PDF, audio, video, iframes, flash cards, accordion, image slider, dialogue cards, LTI, SCORM etc. You can play around with various formats and incorporate them into your online music courses.
2.Schedule and conduct live classes with Zoom or other platforms:
Create batches and schedule live sessions beforehand directly from the EdisonOS platform. You can easily manage live sessions that are forthcoming by having a daily/ weekly/ monthly calendar spread with all your scheduled classes for the month. Easily integrate Zoom to your live class or use other platforms to conduct your sessions.
3.Create structured courses:
When you have structure to your courses your audience will be able to understand what you have to offer and this will make their buying experience and decision much easier. Module by module explain what you have in store and the best part is you can help your audience catch a glimpse of your course by letting them preview your modules.
4.Create discussion channels:
When conducting sessions learners are bound to have doubts and questions after a session. Creating discussion channels helps them discuss, clarify doubts and help other peers learn better.
Creating and facilitating discussion channels is essential and effective for online learning.
In offline classes learners learn together at the same pace. This can be implemented in online learning as well. Create cohort based courses for large group classes for learners to learn together thereby encouraging collaborative learning where every learner moves through a course or series of courses together.
6.Manage student progress:
Get a detailed analysis of every student’s progress. The summary tag under each classroom will help you gauge which student is doing well and which student is falling behind in the course and you can help the students to perform better.
Use multiple profiles to target an entire family to learn music. Profiles if managed by parents for young ones can be easily used to encourage the parent to also take up music sessions along with their toddlers or children and they can learn and bond together.
The demand for online music classes is increasing and it’s important for music professionals to start adapting to this new approach of learning. Because of the numerous advantages of online learning, big music institutes have also shifted their focus and started online courses.If you’re looking for expert advice on starting your online music academy, we are here to help you.