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Making Music




Download the App (or ensure you have UPDATED to the newest version)

The Zoom app is available for free. To download & install it, go to If you are on a mobile device, you’ll be taken directly to Zoom on the App Store or Google Play. If you’re on a computer, tap the download button under “Zoom Client for Meetings”.

Get a Good Connection

This will all be an exercise in frustration without a decent internet connection. If you’re using a computer, a WIRED ETHERNET is terrific; otherwise, for WiFi, place your device as close as you can to the hotspot, with as little in the imaginary line between the two as possible.  Lastly, try not to share a connection with anyone who’s streaming video!

Test it Out

Before you use the app for your first lesson, it’s a good idea to join a test meeting at to familiarize yourself with the app and make sure your audio and video are working. (If you have trouble, here’s some help.)

Joining the Meeting

A session on Zoom is called a meeting. Your lesson reminder emails provide the link to access the Zoom meeting.  (This link is also available on calendar in the My Music Staff student portal.)  About 10 minutes before your lesson is scheduled to begin, click the link.  This will load a page in your web browser that automatically opens the Zoom app with your meeting pulled up and ready to join.  Once you've tested your audio and video connections, use the last few minutes to warm up!

Orignal Sound
Making Music

Use “Original Sound”

Zoom's purpose is usually for people talking to each other in meetings. The audio is optimized for speech which means that Zoom includes noise reduction.

That hum in the background?

Zoom thinks it’s a loud air conditioner and will try to remove it.

That note you’re playing on your instrument? Same thing! 

 To avoid that, use Zoom’s original sound setting, which disables all the audio processing.

Use Headphones!

Wearing headphones or earbuds can improve the sound quality. However, Zoom has been constantly upgrading the sound for musicians and it may not always be necessary.

Man Listening to Headphones
Setup OS




➊ First you have to change the settings BEFORE entering the meeting

Phone or tablet:

  1. Launch the Zoom app and instead of hitting Join, tap the Settings symbol (gear) in the bottom left corner 

  2. Choose Meetings.

  3. Scroll down and turn on Use Original Audio. (You should only have to do this the first time!)​​

Computer :

  1. Sign into Zoom to see Settings option! (You may already be signed in.)

  2. Go into Settings. (Launch the Zoom app and instead of hitting Join, click the tiny gear symbol in the upper right hand corner.)

  3. On the menu at the left, select Audio.

  4. Scroll down to Music and Professional Audio - check the box that says Show in-meeting option to "Original Sound” from microphone.
     NOTE:  On a computer, you can access these settings even if you are currently in a meeting by clicking the arrow beside the MUTE button and selecting "Audio settings".

➋ Next, you have to enable the feature WHILE in the meeting

Phone or tablet:
Tap the “• • •” button and then tap “Enable Original Sound”. If you see “Disable Original Sound” then you’re already good to go.

Simply tap "Original Sound" at the upper left of your window so that it says Original Sound: On


Your Microphone Level

By default, Zoom adjusts the level of your microphone automatically. For talking, this usually works great; but for music this can cause problems. Disabling this option means that you have to set the level yourself.

Phone or tablet:
Microphone level is always “auto” on a mobile device.  No changes are possible.


  1. Launch the Zoom app and instead of hitting Join, tap the Settings symbol (gear).

  2. On the menu at the left, select Audio.

  3. Uncheck the box under Microphone that says “Automatically adjust microphone level”

  4. Speak/play and set the level using the slider so that most but not all of the lights light up when you’re loud.

REMEMBER:  the level has to work for both speech and music.  You may want to stand back and/or point away when you play if your instrument is louder than your voice. 

Playing Along With a Track (MP3 or Video)

During in person lessons,  I accompany students on the piano. In remote teaching, however, the delay over the internet makes that impossible.  Therefore, the accompaniment must be provided via recordings.  In order for the instrument/voice and accompaniment to be in sync, the accompaniment must come through the student microphone.  


Use a separate device (often your phone!) connected to a LOUD Bluetooth speaker.  Find the most convenient way to play tracks from your Music app, YouTube, or your Spotify account.   Even with all of the technology available today, playing MP3s or videos from the same device that runs Zoom causes the voice/instrument and music to be out of sync over the internet connection.  




Enable Annotation

Interactive online lessons work best if students can learn by doing.  Many of the online resources are more enjoyable when the controls are handed over to the student so that they can interact directly with the app.  For most of these resources the most efficient approach is to use the annotation feature.


  1. Wait for the teacher to share the screen

  2. Touch the screen, you will see this icon appear in the lower left corner

  3. Touch the icon to see the annotation tools (drawing, stamps, etc.)


  1. Select VIEW OPTION from the top of the Zoom 

  2. Choose ANNOTATE from the menu

  3. A toolbar will appear with all of the annotation options (text, drawing, stamps, etc)


(Annotation is unavailable on the ChromeOS Zoom app)

  1. Go to your Zoom account in your web browser

  2. Click "Settings" in the menu at the far left side

  3. Ensure you are on the MEETINGS tab at the top

  4. Click "In Meetings (basic)" at the left to scroll quickly down through the options

  5. Continue scrolling to find "Annotations" and enable this feature

Pencil in circle

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