Fiddle Forays Why I Teach Asynchronous Lessons

Why I Teach Asynchronous Lessons


Before I get too far into this post, let me clarify what asynchronous lessons are -- these are private lessons between you and me, yet they don't happen in real time. Why do I love these types of lessons so much? They are:

  1. Efficient -- you share your questions, and play your tunes. I share my feedback and any demonstrations needed. No waiting two weeks between lessons to get your questions answered! I answer all my private lesson video chats within two business days.
  2. Accommodating to our different time zones and schedules. So if you live halfway around the world from the East Coast of the US (or have a full schedule), you can still take one on one lessons with me without having to match up our availability for a live meeting!
  3. Getting you results -- you've got a recorded video message from me that you can reference and play along with for every practice session rather than trying to sync up Zoom for playing together. My students who see the most progress in their playing are the ones who regularly reference our teaching material and apply the tips and exercises we cover in the videos. This is way easier for you to keep track of when you have a 5 minute recording to reference!

Where these lessons happen:

Back in 2021, I began chatting with a group of business friends over an app called Marco Polo. We all took Amy Porterfield's Digital Course Academy® and formed an accountability pod that met every week over Zoom during the 12 week course. After the course completed, we still wanted to meet, but couldn't justify taking one and sometimes up to three hours out of our Friday mornings to keep these calls going. Enter our asynchronous group chat!

We all downloaded Marco Polo, and now we can pop in and share our thoughts, updates, and business check-ins whenever we have a few minutes to spare. For me this is usually on my lunch break. Yes, we're still keeping this chat going on a regular basis here in September 2023!

Chatting with my four gals -- all of whom own some great music businesses -- gave me the idea to start using Marco Polo for my fiddle lessons too. It started off as a way for my students to send weekly practice videos. Our live lessons were taking place every other week, but having a weekly check in allowed students to send updates on how they were applying the tips and exercises from our previous meeting, and it then allowed me to either adjust the assignment or add a new step onto their practice routine for the following week.

Eventually, more and more students began saying that the back and forth video chats were really all they needed -- an accountability buddy pointing them in the right direction for learning their tunes. I would share specific bowing patterns, ideas on how to make certain sections of your tunes more interesting, highlight what you're doing really well, and also make suggestions for what should change. 

By the time we got to our live lessons, we were both saying... "It's really nice to see you, but what are we going to talk about?!" Our weekly communications on Polos were essentially replacing our lessons.

Today's Options

I've been teaching online lessons via Zoom for five years at this point of writing, and have greatly enjoyed getting to meet with students and get to know them in real time. I also think there's still a time and place for that, which is why I continue to offer both live lessons and asynchronous ones.

However, today's reality is that we all lead full lives where even a 45 minute lesson every couple of weeks would push some of us into a state of overwhelm on top of everything else that needs to get done in our day to day schedules. Teaching over a private video chat app has allowed me to reach more students around the world on our own time without compromising individualized attention and feedback. 

It's important to me to accommodate as many learning styles for Irish traditional fiddling as possible, which is why I have options for:

  • Self Study courses like Find Your Lilt® or the Tune Library -- when you need the learning material available on-demand and feel comfortable assigning yourself a practice schedule to get results based on the content
  • Asynchronous lessons -- when you need regular accountability and feedback to push you through to the next level of your musicianship
  • Live lessons -- when you need that extra human touch of being able to communicate with your teacher in real time on occasional check-ins

Yes, each offer is linked above if you're feeling called to pursue one particular learning style over the other!

Do you have questions or concerns about learning in an asynchronous style? Are you curious about it and want to hear more? Leave a comment below or get in on the conversation happening every Sunday morning where I chat about this topic and other similar ones around Irish fiddling in my weekly newsletters!


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