“Recent events have forced me to adapt in order to survive,” says professional guitarist and music instructor Kurt Hollabaugh. Since the stay-at-home order kicked in in Texas, he has had to modify his home-based teaching studio centred around an Audient iD44 in order to become an online instructor.
“The learning curve has been steep and quick. […] I am having a lot of fun, but it is exhausting!”
None of his 37 years of experience teaching and performing had prepared him for this – as he is the first to admit. “The learning curve has been steep and quick. I have had to set up a visually appealing background, learn how to light the room, learn how to get a good image on-screen, learn how to make simple videos with iMovie and on and on and on… I am having a lot of fun, but it is exhausting!”
Luckily, when he saw that things were headed towards shutdown, he took the initiative and contacted his 50 weekly students to let them know that he’d be continuing lessons via Skype or Facetime (and latterly, Zoom). “To make it even more appealing, I have offered extra time to students and to make on-demand short videos to help with the lessons,” he says.
iD44: “I would be lost without it right now.”
“I am refining my new online studio day by day to make improvements in sound, video, and content quality,” he continues. His project studio comprises his iD44 audio interface, Arturia midi controller, Yamaha monitors and a Macbook Pro laptop. Kurt describes his hurriedly put together setup: “I am using the iD44 as the hub of my online setup. I have a second MacBook Pro resting on a household ladder (laptop stand is on order) and am using its built-in camera. I have a Shure KSM137 condenser mic for voice and my pedalboard for guitar (wireless using the XVive U2). Both go into the iD44.”
He monitors voice, instrument and call audio using in-ear monitors from the iD44 and is more than happy with his Audient audio interface. “The JFET D.I’s are wonderful and sound great,” he says, adding, “It just works flawlessly in my experience and I would be lost without it right now.”
Feedback from his students has been positive. “Lessons work very well online and I think everyone appreciates the personal connection during this difficult time when most are homebound,” he is pleased to report. His 20 years as a private instructor for guitar, beginners’ piano, electric bass, mandolin and ukulele in the area have also stood him in good stead, as is proved by their support. “I am so fortunate that all my students and parents are still with me at this time.”
“I am so fortunate that all my students and parents are still with me at this time.”
Although Kurt plans to return to ‘in person’ music lessons eventually, he realises there have been important lessons in this experience. “I have learned that I must stay on top of these new technologies, because the future is here now. I will certainly incorporate more online teaching. I will have to figure out my teaching space, because my ‘in person’ studio space has been co-opted by my new online studio,” he says.
Talking of which, he hasn’t finished upgrading yet, as he has his eye on another audio interface. “I have a second computer in the studio that I would like to incorporate into my setup. The EVO 4 seems to be a perfect choice because it is simple to use, portable and attractive. Seeing as my iD44 has been so great I have absolute faith that it will be an excellent choice.”
Audient – and EVO by Audient – think he might be right and wish him every success.