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Teaching Online

2021-04-21T12:48:40+02:00

Teaching online

Maartje Simons    3 December 2020

Many professional musicians got into serious financial trouble since the Covid 19 outbreak. Live shows have been cancelled or reduced to a very small live audience. As a consequence it has become impossible to earn enough money to pay the bills. Rehearsals and studio recordings are more difficult to organize, but even if musicians have the time and space, there is no money left to pay the rent or the studio engineer.

Thanks to the internet there are various platforms that can help you to continue making music, but can they help you to earn money to keep your musical career professional?
I’m interested in how this really works. How much time does it take to set up your online music channel for example? And there are so many people (professional or not) making music online, that it can be somewhat overwhelming.

From the months October to January (4 blogs in total), I will explore a couple of platforms in different categories to see how they work and hopefully this will answer my questions. I will write a 5th blog with a conclusion of my findings in the end.

I need to say this before I start: I’m not a professional journalist or blogger or writer.. I can only speak from my own experiences and findings, and so they will never be complete. It’s simply too complicated to cover everything. I hope this article gives you some insight. If there is something you miss, or if you have your own experiences with creating an online music career, please share it with us in the comments section! We can all learn from each other!

Online courses are big right now, although it is not new. During the Covid 19 crisis it’s the best way to get yourself educated. On Youtube (and other sites also) free tutorials, in every topic you can think of, are available. Universities have their own online courses and there are a variety of apps you can download to learn something new. In this blog I will only focus on a couple of ways to become a teacher yourself and which ways are the best to teach music specifically. Basically most of these sites works for any other skill as well.

Most people probably figured out how Zoom or Skype works. Of course this is a way to teach online. When you already have students you can set a date, they can pay you money and you can start teaching. But how to reach more students? And how to reach students all over the world? What if you don’t have to worry about building a website from scratch with an online store and enough space to upload pre-recorded tutorials? There are many websites that can help you set up your site as a teacher in various ways. I have been an online course student for about 6 years now. In my case I’ve learned guitar, a lot of Adobe programs, drawing and animation. I’ve seen many websites and learned various things online from teachers all around the world. You can call me a course addict. It’s great!

As I’ve already mentioned before to some extent, there are 2 ways to share your knowledge online. By teaching live (one on one or to a group) or by selling pre-recorded lessons. There are so many websites out there that it is too much to cover. I’m only gonna cover a selection of sites, which I have gained experience with.

  1. Lessonface

  2. Teachable

  3. Udemy

  4. Skillshare

1. Lessonface

At Lessonface you can find 2 categories: Music and languages. Let’s focus on the music department. As a student you can choose a teacher first. Then you can select a date and time in the teacher’s calendar, you pay in advance and after that you will get a link. On that date and time you can log in and get a one on one live lesson with your teacher (sometimes it is a group lesson, they’ll let you know before you pay). You’ll only need a computer and webcam and make sure you have good internet connection.

There are several teachers for each instrument, whom you can choose from. They all have their own way of teaching, their own price and they are all qualified. When you sign up to become a teacher at Lessonface they will screen you first. Not everybody will get accepted. You need to prove that you are a qualified teacher and have had at least 2 years experience as a teacher in the specific skill you want to teach. This makes the site valuable. As a teacher you can choose your own price. It varies between 15 to 60 dollars each 30 minutes. The account is free, but Lessonface will keep a percentage of your income. The good thing is that students all over the world can easily find your profile at the website. It’s very accessible. Besides that you can always do some advertising yourself to get people to come to your Lessonface page.

I took some guitar lessons at Lessonface (by Duane Denison) and have learned a lot. Duane happens to be a very punctual dedicated teacher. A day before the next lesson he always mails new material he wants to discuss. The only difficulty I’ve found, was the time difference (Nashville, US – Tilburg, The Netherlands). I could only get lessons late at night. Even though I was able to record each lesson and watch it back later, it became a problem for me in the long term to continue. Therefore you want to become a teacher at Lessonface, make sure you are available in different time slots, so that students are able to book you for a lesson wherever they are.

You can create a course and pre-record them. The common thing to do, is to record short lessons between 5 to 10 minutes each and sell them all combined as a course with a certain topic. This means that you can sell more different courses. For example: ‘Guitar for beginners’ and after that ‘Guitar for beginners part 2’ and then ‘Advanced guitar skills’, and so on… The following websites I’ll discuss, make it easier for you to sell pre-recorded courses online.

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2. Teachable

Teachable is essentially a website that takes care of the back end of your online school. You don’t have to worry about technical stuff like a store, payments and you can upload videos endlessly. You can link your own domain to your page at Teachable and the students are able to find you under your own url. It’s quite straightforward to make your site look the way you want to. A Teachable account is not free. There are three plans you can choose from. The cheapest is 29 dollars a month and for every course you sell Teachable gets 5 % of the fee. The second plan is 90 dollars a month and the third plan is 249 dollars a month. In these two cases you keep all money you earn by selling your courses. Read the differences of all three plans on their website if you like (you can find the link below in this blog).

You set up your own price for each course. Teachable provides you with some fun extra’s, like being able to set up a quiz or add a discount coupon every now and then, if that’s what you want. I’ve taken a couple of courses from sites that are made with Teachable and I’m sure these teachers earn serious money with it. Nevertheless it takes at least a year of hard work and dedication before it pays off. You are 100 % responsible for doing your own marketing. It is possible for people to find you on the official Teachable site, though it’s not easy. To test this I’ve tried to find a school that I’ve taken some lessons from in the past, using only some keywords.. Honestly, I couldn’t find the school. Imagine, for example, a person looking for drumming lessons and not all online drumming schools created with Teachable are there to be found at their own site! Hence again, do your marketing! The good thing is that Teachable helps you a great deal in setting up your site, starting your marketing campaigns, etc. If you are serious in starting your own online music school, Teachable could be very interesting! Just remember you need to invest a lot of time and money before you get your first serious paying clients.

By far the easiest and fastest way to teach and sell online courses, is using a site that hosts all the service you need: where you can set up a page and upload your courses without the need of your own url/website. I’m talking about sites like Udemy and Skillshare.

All you have to do is upload your course for free and sell them at these sites. You can teach anything you want. From art lessons to coding to cooking to whatever you can think of. Just imagine how many courses you can find here. In both cases (Udemy and Skillshare) a part of your earned fees goes to the site owner.

The way of earning at these sites is slightly different. That’s the reason I want to discuss both of them separately.

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3. Udemy

At Udemy everything you upload, will become their property. You can set up your price, yet if Udemy decides to give people a huge discount on your course, they can do so.. And trust me…they do that a lot. This makes Udemy extremely successful for users, not necessarily for you as the teacher. When you have many courses on Udemy and start to have thousands of students, you will get an interesting monthly income. Besides, I’ve seen many online schools (for example Teachable schools) that make one or two of their courses available on Udemy also. When students like these courses, they can easily find your school and are more likely to pay for your other courses. For this reason Udemy could be a very good place to get attention and lead students to your own (Teachable) site.

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4. Skillshare

Skillshare works with memberships. Students pay a monthly fee of 15 dollars.With this membership they can endlessly watch any class – Skillshare calls courses classes – they want. This makes it very accessible for students to find your classes too!

The payments are as follows: you get paid by the amount of minutes your classes have been watched. Every month Skillshare adds up all paid memberships. They retain a percentage of that. They share what’s left of the revenue with all teachers whose classes have been watched that month. This means that every month your fee as a teacher, if you get any, will be different. Skillshare helps teachers a lot with providing links for their classes to get huge discounts for new students without affecting the income of the teacher. Not only that, all classes you upload remain your property.

More than a year ago I’ve uploaded two classes of my own. Both are about learning basic stop motion animation. I was curious how this whole thing works. I didn’t do much advertising. I’ve only mentioned it once on my social media accounts and you can find links to my classes via my website. I was very surprised that even with my poor advertising, I’ve earned between 6 to 50 dollars a month. People find my classes anyway. Imagine what would happen if I’d pay more attention to advertising and set up a serious campaign?!

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Some thoughts about starting as an online teacher:

A lot of people are getting insecure by seeing so many online courses already available. Therefore they decide not to start building a course themselves. However do not worry about this. Every teacher is different and there will always be people who like the way you teach (or not). If, like me, English is not your native language, don’t be afraid. Many of your students probably have their accents and imperfect English language skills as well… Who cares?! As long as you teach something they want to learn, there is nothing to worry about! And you can always let someone help you with your writing. Be creative. Don’t try to copy others. Stick to your own style and beliefs. Teach something that you are passionate about. Learn how to market it. And of course it’s good to go see how others are doing it.. Write down what you like and what you don’t like and what you would do. What names do others give their courses? Do your research before starting out yourself. In case of Lessonface; when they accept you as a teacher it means you are qualified and the chances of people finding you, will improve.

Don’t forget it will take at least one year, but most likely three years before you are able to enjoy a full income with teaching online. You need to work hard and be dedicated. It’s serious business.

In my opinion, live lessons are better when it comes to learning a musical instrument, because it’s not just about learning some notes. If you want to be sure your students hold their instrument correctly and not getting long term injuries, you can correct them. You can listen and help them improve their sound and timing. Those things are impossible when selling pre-recorded courses. You can always arrange for your students to contact you of course. You can also organize a live Twitch session so your students can ask questions (why not combine live lessons and pre-recorded lessons!)

The good thing about pre-recorded courses is that, after you’ve spent time recording and editing the video’s, you can endlessly sell them and in the meantime spend your time doing other things. It’s up to you!

Useful links:

And there are many many others….

Ok, I’m gonna shamelessly advertise myself now: Here’s a link to my Skillshare classes. When you sign up using this link, you’ll get 2 months worth of free subscription! https://www.skillshare.com/r/user/lifeonmarzj

If you don’t want to pay, you can easily unsubscribe before these two months are over 😉

You can also use this opportunity to search for similar courses (as the one you’d like to create) See how they work and learn from it. I’m just saying 🙂

Maartje Simons

Maartje Simons

About the author: I’m Maartje Simons, a professional drummer, composer and animator from The Netherlands. I got into trouble since the Covid 19 crisis, because my main income derives from playing live shows. Therefore I’m looking for other ways to keep on doing the things I love and also learn new skills to keep me from being dependent on performing only.

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Teaching Online2021-04-21T12:48:40+02:00

How to continue making a living as a professional musician during the Covid 19 crisis?

2021-04-21T12:43:30+02:00

How to continue making a living as a professional musician during the Covid 19 crisis?

Maartje Simons    2 november 2020

Many professional musicians got into serious financial trouble since the Covid 19 outbreak. Live shows have been cancelled or reduced to a very small live audience. As a consequence it has become impossible to earn enough money to pay the bills. Rehearsals and studio recordings are more difficult to organize, but even if musicians have the time and space, there is no money left to pay the rent or the studio engineer.

Thanks to the internet there are various platforms that can help you to continue making music, but can they help you to earn money to keep your musical career professional?
I’m interested in how this really works. How much time does it take to set up your online music channel for example? And there are so many people (professional or not) making music online, that it can be somewhat overwhelming.

From the months October to January (4 blogs in total), I will explore a couple of platforms in different categories to see how they work and hopefully this will answer my questions. I will write a 5th blog with a conclusion of my findings in the end.

I need to say this before I start: I’m not a professional journalist or blogger or writer.. I can only speak from my own experiences and findings, and so they will never be complete. It’s simply too complicated to cover everything. I hope this article gives you some insight. If there is something you miss, or if you have your own experiences with creating an online music career, please share it with us in the comments section! We can all learn from each other!

1. Streaming live music

Everyone has probably heard of Youtube and Facebook… if not, you must have lived in a cave in a far far away no man‘s land! More and more, social media platforms are providing you with a hit and ‘go live’ button. All you need is your phone or tablet and you’re set to go. Great! This is the end of all your troubles!

Or not……

First of all, you need to be able to reach people.

Who is going to watch you? How good or bad are your recordings going to sound like using only your smartphone or tablet speakers? Are you making any money doing this?

It’s basically the same as playing gigs on a real stage in ‘normal’ circumstances; how many people are going to watch you live? What gear do you use for your show? Is your audience willing to pay a ticket to hear you play? And an extra thing to pay attention to; are you allowed to play cover songs or can you only play your own original material? I will answer these questions short and simple:

  • Marketing:

You need to do marketing to gain your audience and make them go watch your show (duh!)

  • Equipment:

The better your equipment and the more knowledge you have on how to use it, the better you will sound (double duh!)

  • Earning money:

The more audience and followers you have, the more chances you have to earn money making music (I will dive deeper into this section later..).

  • Regulations:

Due to the latest guidelines set up by for instance EU and US government regulations, it’s basically forbidden to play other peoples’ music without their permission. However there is a but.. and let’s discuss this one first.

Regulations:

Four years ago a friend of mine started to play music online using the platform Twitch. I asked her why Twitch and not Youtube? In the first place Twitch is a gaming platform and Youtube is more known to a broader type of audience. The choice didn’t seem logical to me. She explained to me why she made that particular choice; Twitch promises to protect the streamer when playing covers on their platform. Youtube on the contrary places all responsibility on the person who streams. In other words; on Twitch they will not kick you off the platform if you play covers and the chances that Youtube will are high. Facebook and Instagram will also not protect you. Especially when you start earning money. Even if you’replaying your own material, you must be able to prove that it’s yours, otherwise it’s still possible to get kicked off most platforms.
Read the guidelines of the platform you want to use and try to understand them (I know they are boring…). It will at least help you learn what might happen when you start streaming and how to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. As far as I know Twitch seems the safest place to be able to make music the way you want to. Because of this reason most of my findings below are pretty much based on Twitch.

Marketing:

For everything you do, online or offline (when you want to gain followers, fans, customers or however you want to call it), you need to make a plan to be able to reach them. And more importantly, you need to know how marketing works! To keep this blog simple I’m not going into detail about this subject because it’s a lot to cover. I might write another blog in the future to deal with this topic.

Equipment:

This one can be tricky. My problem as a drummer already starts with a room where I can make noise. I have neighbors. Besides that, I don’t have an extra room that is big enough to put my drum set in and mic the whole thing…. If this is not your concern and, for instance, you only want to perform with guitar and vocals, there are still some things you need to do.

You need to be able to have a good quality stream. Internet connection is one of them. Wifi is just not good enough. You need a more stable connection with a cable. (here is an article explaining high speed internet: https://www.reviews.org/internet-service/what-is-high-speed-internet).
Besides an internet connection, you need an audio interface to be able to connect your instrument(s) and microphone to your computer and a pair of headphones to avoid feedback. You’ll need a camera (a webcam is fine) and enough light in the room. When you’re considering streaming on Twitch there are several things to do before you can start. I’ve found a very helpful article to get you started: https://restream.io/blog/ultimate-guide-to-twitch.
These guidelines, especially when it’s about software and hardware, are very useful when you’re using another platform than Twitch as well!

Earning money:

I would like to explain more about earning money using streaming platforms. Like I’ve said before; the more audience you have the better the chances to earn money playing music online. You probably know that YouTubers earn money by becoming a YouTube partner and therefore earning money by advertisement. When a YouTuber is really popular a company could contact them and offer a contract. With Twitch this can also happen. Besides advertising on Twitch viewers are able to simply donate money.

There are 3 ways of donating;

  • Tips: the viewer donates an amount of money of choice and it goes directly into your PayPal account.
  • Bits: On Twitch viewers can use the chat to talk to other viewers and the person who streams. There are a couple of things the viewer can do to let the streamer know they like what he or she is doing. One of them is by cheering, using ‘bits’. They literally pay money to Twitch and get an amount of bits they can use to give to streamers by ‘cheering’ in the chat. Okay, this may dazzle you. In this link Twitch explains every aspect on how to cheer with bits: https://www.twitch.tv/bits
    If you still don’t understand this, go watch some music streams and you will learn  There are different types of bits and it has real money value.
  • Subscribers: a viewer can subscribe to your channel and pay you money on a monthly basis for as long as they want.In both circumstances (bits and subscription) Twitch will keep half of this money to themselves when you are not a Twitch partner. Besides, they start paying you as soon as you’ve earned at least a 100 dollars. I know from experience (I’ve had a channel myself for awhile) this can take months, or more. It depends on how popular you are.

Now you’re thinking: ‘Great! Let’s start an account and let the money roll in!’ Well, it is easier said than done…. Not every viewer donates money. And to earn at least something; the longer you stream the greater your chances are. Of course the more viewers you have the better. In practice it’s a full-time job with no insurance that you’ll be able to make a living out of this. Viewers come and go. Almost no one stays on to watch your entire stream. So make sure someone sees you and hangs around for a while. You should stream for at least three hours. Five hours is more common. If you want people to come back, stream five days a week, or at least make a schedule and stick to that. And then it’s important to be patient. Most successful streamers have been doing this for at least three years before they manage to turn it into their main income.

Streaming online takes some practice. You are basically running your own tv show. But it’s totally fun and exiting! It’s best to do this with not too many expectations. Viewers don’t go watch you in order to pay you money. In fact it is just not done to ask or to beg for money. Don’t do this if this is your main goal! Though, it is possible.

There are some people I started following three years ago, who now have succeeded. They are not necessarily doing crazy things. They are simply playing the music they love and are very engaged with their audience in the chatroom.

In addition I have found out that playing covers makes it easier to grow your channel. Streamers make a song list and a viewer can request a song from this list. Make sure the list is long and keep on learning new ones. If you’d rather play your own material, maybe it’s good to combine this with some covers, at least in the beginning. Or you can choose to play your own stuff exclusively. And last but not least: You don’t have to stream alone! You can play with your band or decide to work with different guest musicians every week. It’s your party! 

Platforms that provide live streaming:

Maartje Simons

Maartje Simons

About the author: I’m Maartje Simons, a professional drummer, composer and animator from The Netherlands. I got into trouble since the Covid 19 crisis, because my main income derives from playing live shows. Therefore I’m looking for other ways to keep on doing the things I love and also learn new skills to keep me from being dependent on performing only.

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How to continue making a living as a professional musician during the Covid 19 crisis?2021-04-21T12:43:30+02:00

Streaming Radio

2021-09-07T13:47:56+02:00

∞ STREAMING RADIO

Stichting Worm (NL) has provided us with a radio channel which we can temporarily use to organize streaming radio, concerts and festivals (with audience) in the months to come. Every Wednesday from 14:00 to 16:00h DJ’s Ego and Xenia present Radio ‘Per Ongeluk‘ (RadPO)!

In the meantime we have already hosted a number of artists at RadPO giving concerts and interviews via streaming. You can get updates at our Facebook PXC events page.

We will incorporate ‘Infinite Lines’ as a regular feature in our radio program with updates on the project.

Lukas Simonis known from bands like ‘Dull Schicksal’, ‘AA Kismet’, ‘Liana Flu Winks’, performance SEPT 9th 2020

PXC STREAMING RADIO

Sunday May the 2nd we’ve hosted our second online Streaming Festival at Twitch.tv!

Line up:

NINA HITZ, (NL/CH)
With an active, inquiring mind, Hitz consistently explores the unknown in life and in music.
In addition to baroque music, Hitz is active with experimental music, improvisation and theatrical performances.

CLIMATE CONTROL, LAB EXPERIMENTS (NL)
Bassplayer Chris van Velde (studio project ‘Flesh, Trash & Heat, producer & soundtechnician) experiments on (wooden) bass in collaboration with guestmusicians.. more info soon
Climate Control Laboratories

For more info check out the Facebook event

GO TO ARCHIVE:

Available soon

PXC

∞ Streaming Radio

Streaming Radio2021-09-07T13:47:56+02:00

Mesh Events

2021-04-22T14:56:23+02:00

MESH EVENTS​

The Mesh Print Club is a workspace where members – professional artists, student and/or enthusiastic creatives – can produce their work by means of silkscreen printing. Since 2 years we’re working together with the Mesh in organizing ‘Mesh events‘ on a regular bases.. Events with an interdisciplinary character to challenge, experiment and to make the workspace more versatile..

More than just a creative workspace, we transform the MeshPrintClub into a place where printing, live music, visuals and performance can coexist and where community bonds are strengthened.

PXC

++ Projects ++ Projects

Mesh Events2021-04-22T14:56:23+02:00

Fake Photobooth

2021-04-22T14:39:45+02:00

FAKE PHOTOBOOTH

Anything is possible..

Founded in 2014 by Xenia Gottenkieny as an experimental performance/installation project where photos are taken of visitors in front of a green screen. With the help of photo editing, these persons are then placed in a new setting. This can be an exotic location or a dream world. Anything is possible.

Fake Photobooth tries to stimulate the public to participate in the creative process. Through Fake Photobooth we want to offer a stage where multiple disciplines can come together and new forms of cooperation can arise.

PXC

++ Projects ++ Projects

Fake Photobooth2021-04-22T14:39:45+02:00

MOWA

2021-04-22T14:33:36+02:00

MOWA: SINGLE RELEASE 'DIRT ROAD'

PXC aims to support and work with artists recording, release and distribution. The duo MOWA (formerly known as Moonflower Warrior) describes their songs as ‘music in support of the emotional rituals of nature. Inspired by The Carpenters, the dissonant Franz Liszt
and Nico in her late days’. The past year they released their first 7 ”single, including one of their own
version of Charley Patton’s ‘Dirt Road’. Review “Fierce independence and an utter refusal to compromise characterize the work of this duo, which harks back to Royal Trux’s shabby chaos .. This is music completely unfettered by rules and free
to follow its own, madcap path “(Richard Foster, MOWA performance @ Melkweg)

PXC

++ Projects ++ Projects

MOWA2021-04-22T14:33:36+02:00

Platform Bieute

2021-04-22T15:07:53+02:00

PLATFORM BIEUTE

During the ‘Residency for the End of Time’ in Coulanges (France) in August 2019, organized by the Rotterdam art collective “Woodstone Kugelblitz”, PXC has been assigned a location by this collective to renovate and make it representable as a pop-up platform for participating artists and other creatives during the residency that year and for years to come… In addition, this pop-up platform ‘Bieute’ will be extended to various locations in the coming years.

It will be an international meeting place for creatives and residents from the surrounding area. Together they will playfully and creatively investigate how major environmental problems affect the ‘small’ rural / urban life and what the possible scenarios of impact and reaction are.

PXC

++ Projects ++ Projects

Platform Bieute2021-04-22T15:07:53+02:00
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