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For online lessons to be effective, you will need to ensure that your system meets some basic standards. You will not have to invest in a bunch of new equipment to participate, but we do have some recommendations that will help improve the quality of experience.

You will need:


  • A “fast” computer of any make and model. Anything manufactured in the last 5 years will be sufficient.
  • Operating system – Windows XP or later; Mac OS10 Lion or Mountain Lion

Internet Connection

  • High-speed Internet access like:
    • Cable (Comcast)
    • Fios (Fiber Optic)
    • (Note that DSL service is typically not sufficient for streaming audio and video)

You can use to test your internet connection speed.


  • Microsoft Internet Explorer v8.0 or later
  • Mozilla Firefox v14.0 or later
  • Google Chrome v11.0 or later
  • Apple Safari v5.0.6 or later

Polycom CloudAXIS Plug-in

We’ll be using Polycom CloudAXIS video conferencing for your lessons. This is a simple add on to your web-browser. We chose Polycom because it is preferred and fully supported by Johns Hopkins IT. You can install the browser plugin using the following links:

PC users:

Mac users:

Before your first lesson, you’ll receive an email with a link that will allow you to access the virtual classroom where lessons take place.

Recommended Hardware

If you don’t have these optional items, that’s OK, we still want you to participate as it will help us learn about how lessons work with different types of equipment.

  • External camera (Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 is a good option)
  • USB microphone with HD Audio (Blue Snowball iCE is a good option)
  • External speakers of any make and model will be an improvement over built in speakers. While cost is usually a good indicator of quality, there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars.

What should you do if you are interested in online lessons?

First, contact your teacher to open a dialog about whether online lessons are a good fit for your child. Remember, students need to be at least age eight and with 3 years of experience. There are other considerations as well – some instruments adapt better to online lessons than others and some phases in a child’s development pose challenges that are best addressed through in person lessons. Teachers will consider these and other factors when helping to decide if online lessons are right for you.

Second, Check to see if you have the necessary equipment and connectivity.

Third, with teacher approval and confirmation that you have access to equipment, you can register as you would for in person lessons. Teachers will indicate the location of lessons as being “online” instead of one of our campus locations.