What are "Life-Lines"?
Between your lesson days, you get 2 "help-lines", where you can ask your teacher a quick question to help get you unstuck (using the pop-up chat window).
This question must relate to something in that weeks' homework and must be able to be answered by your teacher quickly, in text format (not video). Eg: "Hi Amy, I've done everything in my practice already. Can I move on and start learning bars 10-15 by myself?"
Or "What finger should I be using in bar 8 in the right hand"?
Or "What does this particular symbol on the music mean?" (include a screenshot to help clarify what symbol you mean).
These "life-lines" are there to help you get unstuck with the homework you're practicing that week. In traditional in-person lessons, you would have to wait until your next lesson to ask your teacher something very simple that has stopped you being able to practice something properly all week.
"Life-Lines" are restricted to one question per "life-line".
Example: you can't ask "What finger do I use in bar 3, and what does the symbol at bar 8 mean, and what speed do I change at in bar 14 and what do I do with the pedal at bar 23". That's 4 questions!
One question per "life-line" is the rule! Keep reading for more information on what to do if you've used all your "life-lines" but still need help.
Pop-Up Chat Window Boundaries
It's our job to bring you the best possible piano lessons on the planet. This is why we provide you with this additional service (which you don't get with traditional in-person lessons) as part of your lesson fee.
But this is a service that could easily be abused and mis-used, so please do not treat this as a direct line to your teacher whenever you like. To continue bringing you awesome, inspiring lessons, week in-week out, we also need to make sure we look after our amazing teachers and make sure they are happy, healthy and can switch off at the end of the day to recharge (before diving into another day of awesome piano lessons for you guys)! Please read this article for more information about our Academy boundaries when it comes to contacting your teacher.
When can I use my "Life-Lines"?
"Life-lines" can be used on any day of the week, except your lesson day. Your lesson day is not the time to start asking your teacher questions. If you send your teacher a "life-line" message on your lesson day, you will not get a response.
Do I have to use my "life-lines?"
If you're going well with your practice, and everything makes sense, then there's no need to use your "life-lines". Or, you could just use one of your "life-lines". "Life-lines" are here for you only if you need them, and if you're stuck on something with your homework. Don't feel obliged to use them if you don't need them.
Can I save this weeks' "life-lines" and use them as extra next week?
No. Please note that if you don't use your "life-lines" one week, you don't get to keep them and use them another week. They essentially expire if you don't use them that week.
Example: if you only use one "life-line" this week, you don't get 3 next week. If you don't use either of your 2 "life-lines" this week, you don't get 4 next week. It re-sets each week.
We start counting your "life-lines" from the day after you submit your Weely Showcase video.
Example: If your lesson day is Monday, we start counting your "life-lines" from Tuesday. You only get 2 each week, so use them wisely.
When will I get a response to my "life-line" question?
Your teacher will aim to respond to your "help-line" message as quickly as they can, but please allow between 1-3 business days. Some of our teachers don't work with us Monday-Friday, so response times may vary depending.
It's best to ask any questions you might have about your homework earlier in the week, to make sure there is ample time for your teacher to reply.
Your teacher will not be checking these "help-line" chat messages after business hours or on weekends.
What kind of response will I get back to my "help-line" question?
Your teacher won't provide video feedback to your "life-line" chat questions. Your teacher will respond via the same pop-up chat window, but will only provide a response in text format.
If you receive a response from your teacher about what finger to use in bar 3 of one of your pieces, then you go on to ask them about what fingers you should use in bars 5, 6, 7 and 8 as well, this is now a new question, and you will need to use your second "life-line".
If you've used a "life-line" and have asked your teacher a question using the pop-up chat window, this is where you will see the response from your teacher...so please log in to check this frequently.
You only receive video feedback from your teacher once a week. Your teacher will watch your Weekly Showcase video (if you send it by the due date) and create a video walking you through things you need to work on and improve for the following week. Think of this like a regular in-person lesson in the real world. You play music for your teacher and get detailed feedback once a week. For more information on the Weekly Showcase submission, read this article.
What should I do if I don't get feedback from my teacher as quickly as I would like?
Move on and practice other things in the meantime. The worst thing you can do is stop practicing. There is no excuse for getting to the end of the week and saying "I didn't hear back from my teacher quickly enough, so I didn't practice anything".
If it's just one bar of something that you're not sure of, just skip this bar and keep practicing other things. When you get a response from your teacher, you can then go back and work on this bar.
If you are stuck on a particular scale, leave that one for now, and keep working on all the others. When you get a response from your teacher, you can then spend time back on this scale.
What's happens if I've used both my help-lines this week but still have a question?
Make a note of this question, and then ask this at the beginning of your upcoming Weekly Showcase Video. If your question has something specific to do with a passage of music you are playing, a particular scale or technical exercise etc, as you are playing through certain things in your Weekly Showcase video, 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 in your Weekly Showcase video will help your teacher know exactly where you're having trouble. Your teacher can then create helpful feedback for you for the following weeks' homework. Find out more about submitting your Weekly Showcase Video here.
This is the best option if your question is quite technical, or requires some in-depth demonstrations from your teacher that can't be answered in a chat message.
If you can't wait that long, write your question on The Academy HIVE wall. Another student or parent might have had a similar problem in the past, and can help you with your question.
Check out the Topic of the Month portal. You might find your answer there. If you're stuck on a particular scale, for example, go through the Topic of the Month archives to see if one of our previous topics was scales. If so, there will be lots of resources that you can work through that will likely help you solve your problem.
If you're really stuck on something, and you're just not able to get past it using a "life-line", and you want to spend more time just working through this particular problem, you can request to have an additional lesson with your teacher.
Your lesson fee does not include additional time spent chatting to your teacher outside of the feedback video and 2 "life-lines" you receive each week.
If you'd like to talk in-depth about your progress or anything outside of the normal weekly lesson material set by your teacher, you will need to request an additional lesson. You can find the form to request an additional lesson under the "Important Info" section of your portal.
We have set up regular monthly Q&A sessions as part of your membership fee (so at no additional cost to you), where you have the opportunity to ask general (non-personal questions). This might be a useful channel to ask any additional questions you might have. We encourage questions that would also benefit other students, such as "How many piano exams are there?" or "How long should I practice for?" etc etc.
If you'd like to submit a question like this for an upcoming Q&A session, you can find out more information here.
What Does Your Lesson Fee Give You?
If you'd like to know exactly what your lesson fee includes (and doesn't include), please refer to this article for more details.