How Qian Tutor teaches piano online- November 2020

Ever wondered how Qian Tutor teaches piano online? Fun, energy and support is never compromised and a fantastic community is growing with amazing students and families.

In this article, I will take you through a detailed tour of how the studio as created a brilliant online environment. We'll talk about hardware, software, set-up and how lessons run. This is great reading, whether you are a fellow teacher, current student or prospective student.

This is my current piano teaching set-up (November 2020).

Space set-up

Have the computer and webcam positioned adjacent to the piano so that student's face and their hands on the piano can be viewed comfortably. The student also needs to be able to see the computer screen comfortably.

Ideally the computer should be placed on a table or stand at the side of the piano. Don't place the computer on the piano.

Ensure the area is quiet, free from distractions and well lit.

Set up 5-10 minutes before the lesson, have books and pencil ready at the instrument.

Read the basic checklist for online learning.

Read the advanced guide for online learning.


These are the following equipment I use for online piano lessons. If students are able to and look for long term online piano learning, I also recommend investing in these. Pricing was when I purchased it (between March - November 2020).

Click here to view and purchase everything mentioned below.

Computer- Apple iMac 2020 21.5inch 4k screen £1499 (the photo above was my previous MacBook Air which needed a CPU and graphics card upgrade hence the iMac now).

Microphone- Blue Yeti USB microphone £150 (fantastic build and quality in an elegant design).

Webcam- Logitech C920 and C920s £100 each (for side and overhead views, giving crisp video).

Headphones- Samson SR850 open-back reference headphones £60 (designed for audio mixing, open-back headphones allow for the sound to be reflective of the piano playing if in the same room).

Mouse- Apple wireless mouse included with iMac (previously I used a Microsoft Surface wireless mouse, similar quality and feel).

Keyboard- Apple magic keyboard included with iMac (previously I used a Microsoft Surface wireless keyboard, which was slightly wider).

Stands- Samson SABL ultra-light microphone boom stand £40 and Monfrotto compact action tripod stand £60 (for side view camera and overhead camera)

Lighting- ESDDI softbox continuous photography lighting set £75 (gives even and balance lighting on the person in the video, that improves video quality).

Additional lighting- Unimi ring light £25 (gives definition between myself and background), LED video lighting set £100 (for soft bounced light against the background).

Writing- Wacom Intuos graphics tablet £70 (for annotation of documents on screen and digital whiteboard)


Zoom- the free video conference platform for all lessons, remember to regularly check for updates.

Tonara- student practise app with lesson management and motivation tactics for support between lessons (free for students, £120-300 for teachers).

Classroom Maestro- onscreen piano keyboard and corresponding notes (£27 for teachers).

OBS Studio- free open source software to edit real-time video feeds and allow for individualised camera set-up on screen.

QuickTime Player- inbuilt to Apple iMac allowing for video recording to support home learning.

iMove- inbuilt to Apple iMac allowing for video editing for competitions and student material.