Your teacher has outlined a number of things for you to work on and practice during the week. Your teacher will want to hear you play all of these things in order to give you feedback and help you progress. Think of Weekly Showcase videos like your piano lesson in the real-world. Where you play everything to your teacher, and get feedback and advice on how to improve.
Follow the steps below to successfully submit your Weekly Showcase video.
Using the sidebar, navigate to "Submit Your Weekly Showcase Video Here".
2. There, you will see some helpful information and a list of all the things you need to record on video. It could be certain scales, between bars 1 and 8 of a specific piece you are learning, or a technical exercise etc.
You can create one big video of you playing everything on this list in one go. This is how you would present your program in an exam situation, so it's great practice trying to play through everything one after the other.
Or, we also let you submit individual files. In this case, you would record a separate video for each part of your homework. One video for your D major scale. One video for bars 1-8 of your piece. One video for your technical exercise etc.
It's up to you. As long as we receive videos of you playing ALL your homework (either one big video, or many individual ones), we're happy!
3. Do any final practice, then start recording yourself, playing through all of the things that have been listed for you to include in your Showcase Video, making sure you don't forget to record anything your teacher has asked you to play. If you have any specific questions relating to your homework that you'd like to ask your teacher, you can ask these at the beginning of your video. As you are playing through certain things, you can also add a comment like "I'm finding this passage particularly difficult". Or "I'm a bit confused about the fingers in this scale". These kinds of questions help your teacher know where you're having trouble, and they can create helpful feedback for you if you point certain things out.
4. We recommend using a smartphone to record your video. A tablet is also fine. A laptop can work too, but is harder to move around and get a good angle from. Just use the built-in camera on your device to record your videos.
5. Make sure your device is not on silent (or aeroplane mode) and has the volume turned up. Make sure there is enough light in the room, so the video is not too dark. We need to be able to see and hear you!
6. There will be instructions on which angle your teacher would like you to create the videos from. In most cases, you will be required to shoot your video from above your fingers, like this (see image below), so we can see your fingers and all the piano notes.
7. We recommend buying a Microphone Boom Stand to hold your smartphone/iPad and allow you to easily record overhead videos.
A Boom Stand like the one below would be fine. The taller the better, and the longer the arm, the better. There are literally thousands of Boom Stand options. Find a cheap one online. Don't pay more than about $99 for one.
8. Place the Boom Stand next to your piano/keyboard and extend the arm so that it is above your head (see image below).
9. We also recommend buying an iKlip, which will allow you to securely attach either your smartphone or tablet to the Boom Stand to record overhead videos. If you're feeling game, you might have some luck simply gaffer-taping your phone to the boom stand, but it might be a little precarious!
If you're using a smartphone to record your Weekly Showcase videos, we recommend this iKlip (see image below).
If you're using a tablet to record your Weekly Showcase videos, we recommend this iKlip (see image below).
10. In the meantime, you may need to get help from a parent, friend or partner to hold your smartphone or tablet over your shoulders as you play. This is not ideal in the long term, but will solve the problem in the interum.
If you're feeling game, you can also use double-sided tape and stick your smartphone to the roof above you. I've tried this on a number of occasions, and it works ok...but can make your phone sticky once you remove the tape!
11. Once you have created your overhead videos, you need to submit your videos by uploading them to your Lesson Portal.
12. Using the side panel, navigate to "Submit Your Weekly Showcase Video Here".
13. There will be a "Dropbox - Submit Files" section. Click on the Dropbox image.
14. It will take you to a page that looks like this (below).
15. Drag and drop your Weekly Showcase video file/s (or select the CHOOSE FILES button and navigate to your video file/s) and your file will upload. You will be required to enter your name and email address, so we can verify who these files are from :)
16. Video files are often large, particularly if you have recorded all your homework in one giant video. When uploading your files, it may take some time, so please be patient and allow for this time on your lesson day. Don't close this Upload window until all your files have successfully uploaded. You will receive a message informing you when all your files have uploaded and submitted correctly. Once you receive this message, you're all done!
17. We then receive these videos at the Virtual Piano Academy headquarters and download them on our end. We watch through each of your videos, and then create our own videos in response to your submission. We walk through (and demonstrate things on the piano) for what you need to do to improve in your practice. We upload all of this, along with lesson notes and other instructions, into your Lesson Portal, so you know exactly what you need to practice. Read this article to find out more about the timing of when you will receive feedback.
18. We repeat this process on your next Lesson Day, until you become an absolute piano rockstar!
How To Submit Weekly Showcase Videos When Having Technical Issues
If you have technical issues and you are having trouble uploading your videos using the method above, you have two options:
Upload your Weekly Showcase videos to your personal Dropbox, Google Drive or other cloud storage system you may use. Send the link to your teacher on your lesson day using the pop-up chat window. This should only be used in an emergency if you can't use the method outlined on this page.
If you are having issues recording videos on your phone, or you don't have Dropbox or Google Drive, we recommend recording your videos using Loom. Loom currently only works on iPhone or iPad (not Android mobile devices) but does work on any laptop (PC or Mac). Loom will let you record 25 videos for free. You can actually create as many videos as you like, but Loom will only let you access your most recent 25 videos. The workaround is that you save these 25 videos onto your computer (or mobile device) then delete them from Loom, and continue recording another 25 videos. Please note, you cannot record a video using your smartphone's camera, then upload these videos to Loom. If you're going to use Loom, you have to record your videos using their App. It will then automatically upload your video into their cloud, and give you a link. Anyone with this link can then view your video. You can send this link to your teacher using the pop-up chat window. If you've created multiple videos, you will need to send a link for each video. Again, only use this method if you can't use the method outlined on this page.