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Faculty Guide to Applied Instruction

Applied music is entirely online for the fall 2020 semester. Due to safety concerns, and a surging COVID-19 infection rate, the decision has been made to shutter the campus for fall and teach music lessons and ensembles (and other group activities) entirely online.

The goal of this document is to provide resources for applied faculty who will be teaching lessons completely online.

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Equipment and Hardware Kits

Requesting Equipment

If you are in need of computer accessories – such as a microphone, stand, webcam – to support applied music teaching online, please complete the following request form: https://projects.peabody.jhu.edu/servicedesk/customer/portal/1/create/236

If you are in need of a computer in order to teach applied music from home, please complete the following request form: https://projects.peabody.jhu.edu/servicedesk/customer/portal/1/create/188

Baseline Hardware Kit

This kit keeps it simple, utilizing a high quality USB microphone, microphone stand (if needed), and semi-open studio headphones. A long USB cable is important in this kit, in order to allow flexible microphone placement. Also, it will be important to consider the computer the kit is connected to, as some computers (more recent Macs in particular) have only USB-C type connections. The stand is flexible and durable, allowing various microphone configurations. Finally, the kit can include a webcam and a webcam stand to allow flexible placement of the webcam.

Please note that we are working continuously to identify and procure high quality accessories, but currently there are availability challenges with all of our preferred vendors.

What About My Students?

Please familiarize yourself with the information contained on the Student Technology Requirements and Recommendations webpage. This information is updated frequently. Your input into these recommendations is welcome.

Software for Synchronous Online Lessons

The foundation of a music conservatory is the individual lesson. While there is no substitute for in-person lessons, there are tools which make online lessons possible, and there are minimum levels of acceptable audio latency and quality.

Zoom – Base level

For those who are satisfied with audio quality and latency in Zoom, Zoom will remain the primary tool for synchronous applied music lessons. Before requesting a higher tier, please make sure that you have tested Zoom, and that you and your students (1) are using an external microphone and headphones and (2) have applied the settings outlined in Peabody’s Guide to Music Mode. All faculty should have at least a baseline level of comfort with Zoom, including how to optimize audio settings for music.

Resources

CleanFeed Logo

Zoom + CleanFeed – Tier 1

If Zoom audio quality does not suffice for lessons after using external microphones and headphones, and making sure that you and your students are all applying the settings laid out in Peabody’s Guide to Music Mode, then CleanFeed is a viable option for improved audio quality and improved latency. 

We have seen numerous musicians, and music teachers, including Peabody faculty members, have a good deal of success in improving audio quality of online lessons by using CleanFeed alongside Zoom, with Zoom audio disable/disconnected. We cannot reliably provide low latency audio connections, so we should strive to improve audio quality as much as possible. Warning: once you switch to CleanFeed audio for your Zoom calls, any Zoom recordings will no longer contain any audio since the audio is being handled external to Zoom.

You can sign up for a free CleanFeed account here – https://cleanfeed.net/. Once you have tried CleanFeed, if you determine that you need a Pro account, please complete our Pro Account request form, found here – https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=OPSkn-axO0eAP4b4rt8N7Gtm4LYMg5lHpSuQAVd1CxFUOFhNWVFWS1JPQkVVSkJQM0xFMjE0WVNVVi4u

Resources

Software for Asynchronous Online Lessons

There are various asynchronous options to supplement live online lessons. The general idea is to have students create and upload video recordings of themselves playing specific pieces of music and to get feedback from their instructors. This approach has great potential for those who learn best with more time to process feedback and make adjustments. This approach is also valuable for those who may struggle to consistently find times for a “live” lesson, or for students whose internet connection is consistently unreliable for live lessons.

OneDrive

OneDrive can be used to Share or Collect files, including Audio or Video. This can be used as a way for students to record and securely submit/share high quality video of pieces they’re working on, for the instructor to listen to Asynchronously, and give feedback either in writing or during Zoom calls.

Resources

Panopto – Base level

Panopto is a viable tool for our faculty to perform asynchronous applied music lessons by capturing audio and video (or uploading recordings), sharing, and providing feedback along a video timeline. We will provide training on how to both self-record directly into Panopto or upload recordings made by other means. See the following for more information on Panopto student recording and feedback – https://www.panopto.com/panopto-for-education/student-recording/. Panopto is also a JHU/Peabody licensed tool that can be offered to all students and faculty and no additional cost.

Resources

Voice Thread – Tier 1

For those who are interested in having a back and forth conversation using video, audio, and text and drawn annotation tools, VoiceThread offers an easy to use platform, and is already licensed for all faculty members by Peabody. The following recording illustrates how VoiceThread could be used effectively to watch and listen to students and provide feedback – https://voicethread.com/share/14790951/

Resources

Software for Ensembles and Groups

SoundTrap

An online (audio only) mixing environment that enables submission and mixing of remote audio sources. Collaborators can directly record and contribute audio tracks along with the ability to provide on the fly feedback. This will be used by ensembles to create multi-track recordings of synchronized individual click track based recordings. SoundTrap will be licensed for conservatory and preparatory faculty and students who participate in ensembles. It could also be used for:

  • Opera etudes
  • Opera class
  • Chamber music
  • Studio projects

Peabody Faculty Logging into SoundTrap, please be sure to login using the “Microsoft School Option” and your JHED credentials.

Resources

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams offers a combination of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration tools. Teams is a great option for keeping all members of a studio connected, communicating, and collaborating. Imagine a system that would allow chat, video/voice calls, shared storage, along with private spaces for 1-1 teacher-to-student communication and file/resource sharing.

Resources

Workshops and Q&A Sessions

The applied teaching workshop schedule and offerings can be found here – https://peabody.jhu.edu/AppliedMusicWorkshops. The series consists of five 90 minute workshops:

  1. Resources for Online Applied Music Teaching + Getting to Know Your Tech
  2. Synchronous Online Lessons – Optimizing Zoom + Introduction to CleanFeed
  3. Tools for Asynchronous Online Applied Music Lessons
  4. Recording at Home for Applied Music Teaching
  5. Online Collaborative Music Mixing with SoundTrap

Recordings of all workshops will be made available to Peabody Faculty members.

Curated Online Resources

Drop in Q&A Sessions

The unified support team (MET/RAS, Production Operations, and IT@Peabody) will offer regular open office hours for applied faculty support and questions. These sessions will likely be a mix of open drop-in and scheduled consultations. These drop in sessions will occur on Fridays from noon-2pm, following the Tuesday and Thursday workshop sessions.

Scheduled Consultations

We will offer scheduled consultations or workshops for individuals or groups. You can submit your request for a consultation here – https://peabody.jhu.edu/audioconsult

Support

Teaching and learning and technology support this fall will continue to be offered in various formats, with request forms available via the IT@Peabody service desk – https://projects.peabody.jhu.edu/servicedesk/customer/portal/1. We will be making updates to this web page on an ongoing basis.