One of the biggest challenges for remote music teaching is that audio delays make it all but pointless to try to perform together. The synchronicity and quality of the sound are key elements when teaching a musical instrument. Without these, the teaching plans have to be adjusted to the extent that the very core of the teaching is practically lost.
So-called “low latency” ensemble performance over digital networks has been possible for a number of years, assuming you have access to fast and robust network lines. However, access to high-speed networks has been limited, and the available software has been difficult to install and use. In order to achieve minimal delay, these set-ups need hardware that has been optimised for the purpose. At the Tromsø Conservatoire (Arctic University of Norway), we have developed a concept that largely solves the problem for users wishing to adopt such technology. The concept has been trialled in collaboration with students and colleagues since April 2020, and in the 2021–2022 academic year, we conducted an R&D project with brass students at the conservatoire to try out the didactic potential of the technology. The relevance of the project to higher music education is, therefore, as much to do with the didactic aspects of digital education as the technical aspects. It will also be able to inspire and inform the field in both areas.
In this paper, we will be presenting our survey of teaching methods and technology used in distance teaching of principal instruments and chamber music when using novel technology for low latency and good sound quality over the internet. Through an action-orientated study of lessons and workshops with two brass students in higher education, we have collected quantitative data to be able to identify which opportunities and limitations that exist in online instrumental tuition using low-latency technology.