written by
Stephen Walter

How To Set Up Your Online Piano

Advice and Setup 4 min read


Updated: 2020-04-14

No! We don’t need anything this complicated! Let’s just keep it simple!

First Two Days Of Lessons

It's been an exciting roller coaster ride!

I've already had several emails about the lessons - everyone has enjoyed them so far.

I have some more things I can do to make them better (I'm going as fast as possible, but it will be the holidays until most things are implemented - please be patient).

I'm also going to have to be careful with my voice... I'm talking louder and singing more (the singing part is distressing for everybody!) and this doesn't bode well for my voice at the end of the day... I'm going to experiment with a lapel mike in the holidays.

The biggest help to the most successful lesson is setting up your piano.
The goal is to have enough light, and for me to be able to see you and your fingers.

Hint 1: Use a laptop for your online lesson, and save your iPad for fun activities in the lesson.

Hint 2: Make certain your device is plugged in, or at least fully charged.

It will be a short lesson if your device stops working!


Light Is Important

Without light...

Dark and grainy Stephen - oooooh, a bit spooky!

With light...

Bright smiling Stephen (and a friendly Tiger!)
With light is obviously MUCH easier to see!


Here’s Where Things Should Go...

You just need three things: Light, Laptop & Keyboard.

‎Of course, you can also put things in the opposite order: keyboard, laptop, light!


You just need three things:

1. A Light.

This can be a roof light, a bedside lamp, a lounge room lamp - any kind of light at all!

IMPORTANT: Your light should be above, or behind and above your laptop. If it’s in front of the laptop, you’ll be in shadows.

Wrong order! You’ll be dark and shadowy (ready to star in a James Bond movie!)

One cheap and easy hint: you can swap the light bulb in the lamp for a brighter one to get better results!


2. A Laptop

Using a laptop will mean you’ll have a nice big picture to easily see, well, me!

You’ll be able to see what notes I’m playing on my piano here in Springwood, Australia.

Also, you’ll have your iPad or other smaller device available for backings, rhythm, games, challenges, composing, and other activities.

PLEASE NOTE: If you don’t have a laptop, it’s perfectly fine to use an iPad, android phone, or any other device for your online lesson.


3. A Keyboard

Or obviously, your piano!

I Have Some Very Clever Students!

Here's how they've set up their pianos...


Here's a very clever suggestion (thanks to Bea and Bruce!)...

Use an ironing board!

It's height adjustable, and you can simply slide your laptop or iPad along it until you're the right distance away from the piano.

After your lesson, it simply folds up and packs away.

What an awesome idea!

Here's Bea's setup:

Ironing board, height adjustable; iPad attached to books with elastic. You could simply sit a laptop on the ironing board without the books. Cool!

She's using some elastic from here sewing kit to attach her iPad to some books. You could use a laptop and this setup would be even easier.

And here's how clear her lesson looked:

Great job with the hands crossing over!

I can clearly see Bea, her fingers, and the piano keys, which makes it really easy for me to help her learn her new Wendy Stevens piece.




And here's an industrious setup from Wayne:

Having an online piano lesson.

Inexpensive but clever engineering solution!

And here's how Lara's lesson looked:

Crystal clear view! Thanks Wayne and Lara!

Another great suggestion:

A step ladder!

Simply put a board between two rungs, and you have an easily adjustable device stand that quickly packs up when you're finished.



How To Improve Sound

Android devices can sound very soft.

And, sometimes the sound from your devices speaker can get picked up by the microphone, causing a bit of an echo.

The simple fix to this is...


I just use some simple in-ear headphones, and the sound quality is much better.

In-ear headphones - light and comfy for music lessons

You're better off using headphones with cables, as Bluetooth headphones sometimes have a delay, which can make things confusing.

A Great Hint For Kids Lunch Time

I loved this idea from Jenny.

She's set up a password protected zoom account for her children and their friends so that they can talk and have lunch together, and play online Uno.

What a great, safe idea to allow kids to keep in contact with friends.

Please let me know if you have other suggestions or ideas to share!


For more information, or to book lessons, you can contact us here:


I know many of you have puppies at home

(a big shout out to Kenobi, Bubbles, Pharaoh and Russ!)

So here are some puppies coping with lock-down.

Here are puppies learning marine biology:



Well, I love puppies, and now I know that WFH means "Working From Home"!




Keep positive and play piano!



Stephen Walter


(C) 2020 Blue Mountains Piano School

setup advice online piano