I've been thinking about my coaching students recently, and this prompted me to take a moment to address the subject of gear, and the expense that comes along with it. Hopefully presenting options that can be both effective and affordable can relieve the burden and fear that comes with upgrading your studio. I've been at this for a long time and I built my studio slowly and methodically over years. Getting a rig that suits your needs and gets you started doesn't have to break the bank.

Whenever I begin coaching sessions with new students, I send out a questionnaire to get a feel for the level of the students knowledge, the current setup they are using and type of system they are using (Mac vs PC). Then I clearly have them define the goals that they are trying to accomplish. Most students have a pretty good idea of what they want to do, but other students are not quite sure what they want to do next, but see that everyone around them is getting their tech together!

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If you are a music teacher looking to do online lessons, there are many solutions that are affordable and can get you started with little or no knowledge of video or audio gear.

Scenario 1: Using your computer only.

As you know this can work, however you limit yourself by having computer audio only and this can be harsh on the ears of your student, and perhaps unprofessional sounding.

Scenario 2: Using your built in webcam and upgrading your audio with a usb microphone.

The one I would recommend is the Blue Yeti usb mic

This solution will greatly enhance your sound quality and provide the listener with a better experience, while only investing 100-200 dollars.

Scenario 3: Using a webcam, like the Logitech Brio or the Logitech C922 and a USB Mic.

This solution will now improve your audio and video and additionally it will allow you the flexibility of switching between the internal camera and the webcam inside of your chosen platform. Thus having 2 camera angles setup! Now your total investment will be around 300 dollars.

Scenario 4: If you want to add a better camera with HDMI capability but can still function as a USB webcam, check out the Zoom Q2N

With this situation you can have the same flexibility as noted above but if you decide down the line to add an HDMI switcher or want to run HDMI to an external recorder you can have the best of both worlds. If you already own a webcam you can now setup an additional angle for your students. Perhaps front cam and a side cam or overhead cam, and for drummers a foot cam!

Scenario 5: If the usb mic doesn't offer enough options for your audio needs you can get an audio interface. This way you can use any microphone that you like or any number of mics. This introduces the discussion of MAC vs PC. but this discussion will be for another day!

The Focusrite 2i2 interface that I am recommending will work on either platform and Is inexpensive. Of course you will have to buy a microphone or 2 depending on your needs.

To summarize; the options I described above can help you get your foot in the door, but will not break the bank. You can greatly improve the quality of your services thus making you look more professional while providing a better experience for both you and your client.

We have so much technology available to us, but lets begin with what we need first.

Try to make decisions on investing in your brand based on a rational and calculated process not emotional ones. Remember you are your brand! Invest in yourself and you will grow your business.

Please comment on this or any post and become part of the conversation!

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