Music tips

Enable Shortcuts Outside of Zoom

This setting will double the power of all of the keyboard shortcuts above, and that’s not an exaggeration. Do you often have other windows open while in Zoom meetings? Well, with this setting, you can use your Zoom keyboard shortcuts even when you’re in another window. To turn it on, go to Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts and select “Enable Global Shortcut.”

Meeting Reminder (Mobile)

When I’m on the go, I don’t always know when a meeting is about to start. On my phone, calendar reminders often go ignored (there are so many of them that it’s just too noisy to keep up). So I set up Zoom reminders to ensure that I never miss an important scheduled meeting.

Disable Waiting Room

Zoom recently turned on a bunch of privacy-related settings by default. One of those is the waiting room, which requires you to admit each attendee individually. Our calls are mostly internal anyway (and it can take a while to admit 10+ people individually), so we turned this setting off under Settings > In Meeting (Advanced) > Waiting room. (Note: It takes a while to scroll through all the options on this page, so we suggest you CTRL+F “waiting room” to find it quickly.)

Touch Up My Appearance

This is more on the spectrum of “fun” than “useful,” but I love that it’s a feature. In Settings > Video, check “Touch up my appearance,” and Zoom will soften the focus on your camera, theoretically minimizing any issues with your skin.


We meet in Zoom, but we live in Slack. Which is why the Zoom/Slack integration is so helpful. You can use it to start Zoom meetings right from Slack. Just type “/zoom” in Slack to see all the options. We also use Slack’s recurring reminder feature to remind our team when the daily huddle is about to start, both 5 minutes in advance and right as the meeting is starting. To set this up, just type this into Slackbot:/remind #[roomname] every weekday at 9:55am that Daily Huddle is starting in 5 minutes! [zoom link]


Zapier connects Zoom with hundreds of other apps, but perhaps the most useful integration of all is scheduling tools. When you schedule a meeting with someone, whether using Calendly or Google Calendar, rather than following up with that person to send them a Zoom meeting link, or manually updating the calendar invite with the link, you can have Zapier automatically add your Zoom link to the event, making meeting scheduling hands-free. Note: Want more advice on all things remote work? Subscribe to our email list!

Make A Game Plan

Just like anything else that you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll find the most success if you have a solid plan. You likely have long-term goals of music that you’d like to learn or skills that you’d like to acquire. This is a good start to making a practice plan. Be sure to always start each practice session with a plan as well. What are you hoping to accomplish in this practice session? What are specific things you can do to make that happen? Perhaps you’d like to work on the continuity of your piece. In this case, it would make sense to use your practice time running through your music, stopping as little as possible. Or, maybe you’d need to clean up some messy rhythms in the middle of your piece. Don’t run through your piece if you know there are some problem areas that need attention. Instead, go straight to the problem area and woodshed. Are you trying to master the musical expressiveness of your piece? In this case, don’t let yourself obsess over playing all of the correct notes and rhythms and instead focus on what your music is communicating. You’ll find that when you shift the focus from the logistics of what to play to the art of how to play, the notes and rhythms often fall into place.

Actively Listen To Quality Recordings Of Your Music

Keep in mind that your brain is like a sponge that absorbs the music that you hear. The more you let it soak up the sound of your music, the easier it is to get that music back out of you.

Make a point to actively listen to the music you are learning.

Active listening is its own unique activity that deserves all of your attention. When you are actively listening for the sake of learning your music, stop all other activity. Don’t try to clean your house, drive or browse the internet while you listen. Instead, close your eyes and really focus on the sound of the music. Think about the logistics of what your hands might be doing in order to make those sounds happen. Open the score and follow along. Listen several times in order to observe and take in everything that is happening in your music. Then, repeat this activity many times throughout your learning process.

Break Your Music Into Small Sections

Sometimes it makes sense to play the piece all the way through from start to finish. You might choose to do this first, just to get a scope of the entire piece. But, when you’re ready to get to work, break your music into small, workable sections. Focus on practicing phrases, whether it is 2, 4, or 8 measures at a time. Other ways to break apart the music would be to work through the A section, the exposition, or until the first repeat sign. Whichever approach you take, find clear starting and ending points in your music.

Don’t stop at the first page just because it’s the end of that page.

Playing to the end of a phrase will likely mean you’ll have to stop just before the end of a page or keep playing a few measures into the next page.

Listen to the playlist of repeated tracks

You can access your repeated tracks in the “Made for You” section. Spotify updates this section on a weekly basis.