Required Equipment:

  • A piano/keyboard to practice on. For detailed information on the type of piano or keyboard that is considered adequate for lessons, please read this article.

  • A full-size (88 notes) piano or keyboard, with weighted keys and a sustain pedal is ideal. However, if you're a beginner, you might already have a keyboard lying around, and want to try out lessons using this (to see if you're enjoying it) before upgrading. That's fine by us. We can always discuss your options for upgrading down the track if you decide you want to get really serious!

  • An internet-connected device you can access the Virtual Piano Academy website on. If you’re sharing devices at home, you’ll need to be able to login and have access to this device for each of your practice sessions. If your child doesn't know the email and password login details for Virtual Piano Academy, we recommend clicking the "remember me" option at sign-in (see image below). This will save your login details, and will mean your child can login to Virtual Piano Academy without you having to re-enter the email and password each time. This only works on the same device...so repeat this process for all devices that might be used.

  • We also recommend adding a link to Virtual Piano Academy on your device's home screen, for easy access (so you don't have to type www.virtualpianoacademy.co into your browser every single time). Find out how to do this on your specific device here.

  • We recommend using Chrome as your browser. Safari is the default browser on all iPhones and iPads. This will still work, but Chrome seems to be a slightly smoother experience. You can download Chrome for free on any device.

  • A device to record videos with. This can be the same device you use to access the Virtual Piano Academy website. We recommend using a smartphone to record your video. A tablet is also fine. A laptop can work too, but is harder to move around and get a good angle from. Just use the built-in camera on your device to record your videos. This quality will do just fine. Having said that, make sure your device is not on silent (or aeroplane mode) and has the volume turned up. Make sure there is enough light in the room, so the video is not too dark. We need to be able to see and hear you!

  • Download Zoom. We use Zoom for monthly Q&A sessions and for any additional face-to-face lessons you request (additional lesson request forms are in your Lesson Portal).

  • There will be instructions on which angle your teacher would like you to create your videos from. In most cases, you will be required to shoot your video from above your fingers, like this (see image below), so we can see your fingers and all the piano notes.

  • We recommend buying a Microphone Boom Stand to hold your smartphone/iPad and allow you to easily record overhead videos.

  • A Boom Stand like the one below would be fine. The taller the better, and the longer the arm, the better. There are literally thousands of Boom Stand options. Find a cheap one online. Don't pay more than about $99 for one.

  • Place the Boom Stand next to your piano/keyboard and extend the arm so that it is above your head (see image below).

  • We also recommend buying an iKlip, which will allow you to securely attach either your smartphone or tablet to the Boom Stand to record overhead videos. If you're feeling game, you might have some luck simply gaffer-taping your phone to the boom stand, but it might be a little precarious!

  • If you're using a smartphone to record your Weekly Showcase videos, we recommend this iKlip (see image below).

  • If you're using a tablet to record your Weekly Showcase videos, we recommend this iKlip (see image below).

  • In the meantime, you may need to get help from a parent, friend or partner to hold your smartphone or tablet over your shoulders as you play. This is not ideal in the long term, but will solve the problem in the interum.

  • If you're feeling game, you can also use double-sided tape and stick your smartphone to the roof above you. I've tried this on a number of occasions, and it works ok...but can make your phone sticky once you remove the tape!

Optional Equipment:

  • Dropbox account. This can use useful for creating and storing backups of your lesson videos, and any other learning resources you wish to save. Virtual Piano Academy doesn't give you any videos or resources from the website if ever you decide to leave, so you are required to make your own backups of any material you wish to keep. If you have technical issues and you are having trouble uploading your Weekly Showcase video, you then have the option of uploading your video to your Dropbox and sending the link to your teacher on your lesson day using the pop-up chat window. This should only be used in an emergency if you can't use the method outlined in your Lesson Portal. Having Dropbox is handy when sending, receiving and storing large video files (like music videos!).

  • Loom (video recording App). If you are having issues recording videos on your phone, we recommend recording your videos using Loom. Loom currently only works on iPhone or iPad (not Android mobile devices) but does work on any laptop (PC or Mac). Loom will let you record 25 videos for free. You can actually create as many videos as you like, but Loom will only let you access your most recent 25 videos. The workaround is that you save these 25 videos onto your computer (or mobile device) then delete them from Loom, and continue recording another 25 videos. Please note, you cannot record a video using your smartphone's camera, then upload these videos to Loom. If you're going to use Loom, you have to record your videos using their App. It will then automatically upload your video into their cloud, and give you a link. Anyone with this link can then view your video. You can send this link to your teacher using the pop-up chat window. If you've created multiple videos, you will need to send a link for each video. Again, only use this method if you can't use the method outlined on this page.

  • External Microphone for your device. While we accept videos recorded using your phone's camera and built-in microphone, depending on the quality of your phone, the audio of your music performance might not be that great. Listen back to your videos before sending them. If you can't hear the audio/your music clearly, then neither can we. In this case, you might need to buy a microphone that plugs into your phone, providing you with better quality audio. We recommend this Australian-made Rode microphone.

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