After teaching private ukulele lessons throughout spring and summer via zoom, I knew I’d have to change my method. Homeschooling four children doesn’t exactly leave a lot of extra time to schedule lessons throughout the week. However, I really love teaching ukulele and songwriting, so I felt determined to find a way to continue doing that work.
Four of my students who began learning ukulele with me started using their new skills to write their own songs. One wrote four completed songs, and she’s only seven and has only played ukulele for 4 months. These students not only started a new hobby that (*gasp*) doesn’t involve screen time or use any electricity, but they found a new method of expressing themselves in a time when the entire world is under much more stress than normal. I believe there are people out there that could greatly benefit from the therapeutic process of playing and creating music, and they just don’t know it yet! I think that’s why I feel this continuous drive to show people the simple skills it takes to start playing this adorable, portable instrument.
Something that really bothered me about my zoom lessons was that I felt like they weren’t accessible to everyone. They were only available to the people who could afford it ($20 per lesson), could send the money electronically, had a stable internet connection, had a device with a decent camera and microphone so I could see what they were doing, etc. We also had latency issues occasionally. Even though I consistently have a good internet connection and use an Ethernet cable, if the student had a connection issue, they would see me basically slowing down and then speeding up, making it impossible to practice playing in time with each other.
So those were the issue I wanted to solve. And honestly, I think I have done a pretty good job! By teaching lessons via Twitch livestream, no one needs to pay me money (but if they find the content valuable, it’s super easy to tip), no one needs to have a good camera or microphone because I can’t see or hear them anyway, no one needs decent internet (Twitch has latency problems FIGURED OUT, and if you have a bad connection, you’ll just be seeing me teach a second or two later than someone who has fantastic internet), no one needs to feel embarrassed or intimidated because they can remain completely anonymous if they’d like, and everyone still has the ability to communicate with me because Twitch has a great chat feature that is easy for me to see and respond to (and doesn’t have the delay that you experience on other platforms …*cough, cough* facebook).
And I get paid! Yes, that’s right. I teach lessons to everyone for FREE, but I still get paid! When you first arrive on my Twitch channel and I am live, you will be shown a one minute ad. Most of the ads on Twitch are hilarious, creative, and entertaining, so as a viewer I usually don’t mind. I make a tiny bit of money each time an ad is viewed. If you hate ads, you have the option to subscribe. Subscribers see no ads on my channel, they get to use my super fun custom emojis in the chat, and they have access to past livestreams (both lessons and performances). This is super handy if you ever want to re-take a lesson to better understand the concepts being taught or if you are unavailable to participate live. Being a subscriber is only $5 per month, but actually, that can be free too. Twitch is part of Amazon. So if you have Amazon Prime, one of your member benefits is that you get one free Twitch subscription per month. When you click on subscribe it’ll ask whether you want to subscribe using money or using your Prime Sub.
This image is what you will see if you go to my channel (from a computer) while I am not live. The 3 things that I circled in pink are the most important buttons on my channel.
The About section has loads of information and links.
The purple Follow button allows you to get notifications when I go live.
The Subscribe button allows you to to use my custom emojis in the chat, never see ads on my channel, and have access to my past videos anytime you want. You can choose to pay $5 per month or use your “Prime Sub” which is a free option for people who have Amazon Prime.
I truly appreciate every one of my subscribers! You are the people who make it possible for me to continue teaching and for me to reach a larger audience that otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate.
If you plan on chatting with me during our lesson and you haven’t already done so, go make a username on Twitch.tv and give my channel a follow.
I hope to see you all in the chat on Monday!
Lastly, here is a video from a couple weeks ago when I decided to go live on my facebook page and then share it to the facebook event. In this video I demonstrate how to tune a ukulele and then talk about this new virtual teaching method. Grab your ukulele before you click play if you’d like to learn how to tune your own.