So many thoughts. So little time.

Remote Piano Lessons via Skype or (preferably) Hangouts-On-Air in “Studio” mode Tutorial

Here is a somewhat advanced tutorial on how to give remote piano lessons (or any instrument, really) using a virtual instrument (VSTi) ASIO host. I use Cantabile 3 in this video as the ┬áVSTi host, Voicemeeter Pro “Banana” as a virtual mixing board, and I show both how to use Skype and Hangouts-On-Air. A zip file with the Voicemeeter settings is at the bottom of this post.

Hangouts-On-Air have a far better option for the audio for sharing musical content. Its “Studio” mode is far, far superior to either an HOA’s “Voice” mode or Skype’s compressor for audio, so though it takes up the last half of this video, I felt it was important to show how to set that up also.

You could use the exact same setup to teach someone how to use any audio-producing program that uses ASIO where you need to interface with either video-conferencing software or recording/streaming software (like OBS) that only accepts WDM style inputs. Give lessons on using DAWs, Cantabile, standalone instruments and VST plugins, etc.

Here is the link to the Voicemeeter setup file mentioned in the video:
http://terrybritton.com/Piano_Lessons_Settings.zip

Thanks to Lee Rouse for getting this conversation started, which led to the making of this video.

For Hangouts-On-Air – CHECKLIST

1) Set up a YouTube channel if you haven’t already

2) Click your user icon at the top right and select “Creator Studio”

3) Click at the left into “Live Streaming” and click on Events

4) Click on the far-right on “Create new event”

5) Select “Quick (Using Google Hangouts On air)” from the radio buttons toward the right near the bottom – that sets up a Hangout-On-Air as the format

6) Set it from “Public” to “Private” or “Unpublished”.

7) Start the hangout by clicking “Go Live Now” — that does not mean you need to start calling now, it just lets you get the viewing links and set up the audio and video in advance. (You can also schedule events to happen in the future in advance… even after this step!)

8) At the lower right, click the “Links” button to get the link to the YouTube video to share, and also an embed code for putting it on your blog page (which can be a private page, of course, only visible to your student), and then DEFINITELY copy the link from the top address bar that leads back to this HOA, which you can email to yourself and to the other person(s) so they can join it. When you return to it, just hit the “Join” button and you are in. Up to 10 people can participate in a normal hangout. (Up to 25 if you have a “G-Suite Basic or Business” account.)

9) Click the gear at the top and set your microphone to Voicemeeter Output and your speaker to Voicemeeter Input. I advise changing the audio from “Voice” to “Studio” and keeping your levels at or below -12dB. Click “Save”.

10) This HOA is now set up – clicking the “Start Broadcast” button will begin the recording. You can continue without recording by just leaving this open and not hitting the “Start Broadcast” button. When finished Recording (that is, “Broadcasting”), hit “Stop Broadcast” FIRST and then hit the red-phone button at the top to hang up. If you do not hit “Stop Broadcast” before hanging up, it will continue recording for four hours then disconnect itself.

11) Once all this is set up, hit the Red Phone to hang up and shut the hangout window if you are not making the call right away. This all stays available as long as you don’t use it (so retain that link from the address bar you got – makes it a pseudo “Skype” for you and your student to use, with better audio!). This now also appears in the list of your scheduled events at https://www.youtube.com/my_live_events?filter=scheduled at the bottom, where you can change the time so it is scheduled for a specific date by editing the “Basic Info” page, or you can alternatively start the hangout from there on your end, and get the address bar link and other links to share if you had forgotten to earlier. It will stay there until you use it, so if you don’t ever broadcast and stop-broadcast, it stays around to use again and again. You can get rid of unused ones by checking the box to its left and going to the top under “Actions” and selecting “Delete”.

12) Extra: You actually can view the live stream from the tab to the right of the “Basic” one which now shows a “Live Control Room” link. View the stream from the “Preview” section by hitting the play button in the middle of the video there. The “Public” view will not be active until you show up to start the broadcast.

That’s it! Seems like a lot the first time, but it is really quite simple. This checklist will always be handy, though!

When ready, click the link you saved to enter the hangout, hit “Join” and optionally start the broadcast (begin recording) when you are ready. Or just re-use this as a hi-fidelity version of Skype by having students join at the proper time with their link.

Here are useful links:
Voicemeeter setup file: http://terrybritton.com/Piano_Lessons_Settings.zip

Voicemeeter Pro “Banana”
http://vb-audio.pagesperso-orange.fr/Voicemeeter/banana.htm

Cantabile 3 (Demo download includes free “Lite” version)
https://www.cantabilesoftware.com/

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