Setting Up for Success

Ethernet CableOVS has found that an Ethernet cable provides the best internet connection with less lag time.  

HeadphonesOVS suggests the use of wired headphones to reduce feedback and echo during sessions. Clients should purchase headphones that are comfortable and with enough cable to move around 5-6 feet. Headphones in an open-back style make it easier to hear both the teacher and music playing from an external source. The Philips SHP 9500 is a decent headphone that ranges in price from $75 to $100. The Audio Technica ATH r70x is in the $300 to $400 range and is a quality product. Headphones should feel comfortable on your head and compatible with your equipment. 

Audio InterfaceAn audio interface is a small external device you can plug headphones, microphones, and even musical instruments into to upgrade the sound going to and from your computer. Musicians using an audio interface can control each plug individually for improved recordings. These range in price from under $100 to several hundred dollars. A nice, inexpensive version is the Focusrite Solo, which runs around $120. 

MicrophoneMicrophones should be wired to get the best sound quality. But if you want a microphone for purposes beyond your online lessons, you will want to talk to someone in a music store who has a deeper knowledge of these devices. You might find Sweetwater to be helpful in purchasing audio equipment. Just be clear about what you need.

Desktop or Laptop Computer—Lessons should be taken on a full-size computer or laptop and not on a phone or small tablet.  You may also wish to use a secondary device for playing soundtracks. 

EnvironmentTake your lessons in a quiet space with good lighting and minimal distractions. 

MusicYour lessons will be most effective if you know what you want to sing in advance. You may purchase and download sheet music from several online sources, such as or Most offer music in several keys and even offer subscriptions so you can make bulk purchases at a discount. You will need to send a pdf of your music to OVS through the secure portal before each lesson.

You will likely be working on eight to 10 pieces of music each quarter, so you should decide how best to store and display your music. Some clients prefer to use online score-reading apps, while others prefer “the old-fashioned way” by putting printed pages into a three-ring binder. Either way, your method must include a way to take notes on the score. 

What to bring to your lessons

  • Water
  • Standard drinking straw
  • Kazoo (available at party supply store for under $1.00)
  • 2 to 3 standard party-size balloons, uninflated
  • 6-foot, medium-strength exercise bands (available at sporting supply stores or online) 
  • Disposable gloves or finger cots (available in major grocery stores or online) 
  • Mirror (preferably full-length, mounted in your lesson space) 
  • Flashlight (the one on your phone will work) 
  • Personal humidifier (essential for vocalists to use before performances and practice sessions) 
  • Yoga mat or carpeted surface for stretching*


*Let the instructor know if you are unable to do floor work.