Asynchronous lessons happen when the back and forth exchange of playing, discussion, information, and demonstration do not happen immediately in a scheduled lesson time, but are transmitted back and forth via audio or video recordings, emails, etc. This exchange may take place over several days or weeks.

How it works:
  • Make a recording* of an assigned project we are working on in lessons
  • Listen to your recording
  • Assess what is going well, and what needs to improve
  • Make a second recording, incorporating changes based on your assessment of the first take
  • Send me your second take

At this point, you have actually acted as your own teacher, and you have given yourself a lesson!

  • I will listen to the recording, and email  feedback to you.
  • Make a new recording, incorporating any suggested changes in my feedback.
  • Listen to your new recording – assess if you have incorporated the changes.
  • Make a second recording, based on your assessment of the success of the changes.
  • Send me the new recording.
  • This can continue back and forth for several exchanges.

If you consider the time that the student spends making the recording, listening to it for assessment, making a second take, sending it to the teacher, who then listens to it, possibly referring back to previous recordings to gauge improvement, and responds with written comments or a video clip with a demonstration, both parties have spent as much time exchanging information as they would have in a lesson.

In the case of online lessons over the internet, asynchronous lessons are a necessary supplement to the face to face interactions over typical video conferencing platforms (Zoom, FaceTime, etc.). Even with the best possible equipment, the internet connection speed does vary, which leads to variations in quality of the sound and amount of latency delay. Asynchronous lessons can include the exchange of recordings which will provide much better audio quality for assessment of tone, intonation, phrasing, and other nuances. Recordings also allow for performances with backing tracks without the impediment of latency delay, for assessment of ensemble skills.

Asynchronous lessons can also be used to keep the momentum going when the student or the teacher has a scheduling conflict created by travel and performance commitments. This can take the place of extra lessons in person.

A note about submission of recordings for asynchronous lessons:

We become very well trained when at school, to submit assignments at the next class. But if you wait until the next lesson to submit a recording, your teacher is probably already teaching other students and won’t have an opportunity to listen to your recording before your lesson. It might be possible to listen to your recording together in your lesson, if your teacher has time and broadband capacity to download it at the same time as teaching, but you will get much more value from the recording if you can submit it the day before your lesson. And if you can submit it sooner, you may even have a chance to get comments from your teacher and do a second take to show improvement before your next simultaneous lesson.

*Recording: format and transmission can be whatever is easiest for you. This is not about learning to use more technology, its about using the easiest method to get a reasonable quality sound recording to me so I can hear you as if I am in the same room with you. Voicememo, GarageBand, Audacity, audio or video files, sent as email attachments, Google docs, links to private YouTube videos, through Dropbox or WhatsApp – its all good, I’ll take anything. 

Recording assignments may also take the form of multitrack recording projects, using platforms such as Cyborg Llama, Acapella, or BandLab.