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Publishing Pre-Recorded Lessons & Courses

Publishing Overview

The MusicLessons.com Publishing Service allows educators to build and publish pre-recorded lessons that can be offered to students as self-paced instructional content. This service allows educators to create instructional material that can be offered over and over again to lots of students.

The Publishing Service allows you to manage your own collection of Lessons and Courses in your Studio. Lessons contain the material being taught, and Courses are just an organized collection of Lessons. Lessons can be stand-alone, or they can be part of a Course.

What Is A Lesson?

Lessons are pre-recorded, media-rich presentations that allow students to add their own notes, and use our musician-friendly media player for audio and video files. Each lesson also includes a real-time discussion accessible to anyone who has access to the lesson.

How Do You Make A Lesson?

Lessons are created and updated using our easy-to-use, built-in editor. Once you create a new lesson, the editor will open and you can start adding content right away. Lessons contain as much material as you want, including multiple videos, pdfs, images, MusicXML, TAB, and text.

Pro-tip: we have found that many short videos more easily digested than a single long one. Try to keep your lessons short.

What Is A Course?

A Course is a collection of Lessons that are organized into Sections. You can create as many Sections as you want, and add as many Lessons as you want into each Section. You can sell the entire Course as a single unit, and you can sell each Lesson individually if you choose. There is no requirement to create a Course if you use the Publishing Service.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Publishing Service is free to use when you create free publications. You can also use our Payment Service to sell your publications - see Pricing for more details.

Making Changes

Lessons and Courses can be updated and improved over time, and any students who have previously purchased, or who otherwise has access to the edited publication will benefit from your updates.

What Is A Publication?

A Publication on MusicLessons.com is a pre-recorded Lesson or Course that uses the MusicLessons.com Publishing Service.

Teachers can create stand-alone Lessons or they can organize lessons into a Course. Either way, pre-recorded lessons can be sold individually or through the course in which they exist.

About Lessons

A Lesson is a type of publication that contains material being taught by a teacher. It is made up of a list of content items, such as text, videos, audio (MP3 files), printouts (PDF files), inline music notation (MusicXML, MEI), tablature, etc.

By default, lessons are displayed in preview mode if the person viewing has not purchased it, or is not logged in. You can choose which parts of a lesson are included in preview mode when you edit the content of a lesson.

A lessons can be stand-alone, which means it is not associated with a course, or it can be part of a course. If a lesson is part of a course, you can choose whether or not it can be sold individually.

Lessons can be free, or cost money. The price of lesson is completely up to you. See Setting Your Prices for more information.

About Courses

A Course is a publication, which is essentially an organized collection of lessons. There must be at least 3 lessons in a course before the course can be published.

Lessons that are part of a course can be sold individually, or only through the course itself. This is an individual setting for each lesson in the course.

When a student purchases a course, they will have full access to all lessons in the course. Courses can be free, or cost money. The price of course is completely up to you. See Setting Your Prices for more information.

Pricing - How Much Does It Cost?

Publishing Service Fees

When you use our Payment Service to sell your Publications (Lessons and Course), we charge a small service fee, plus a payment processing fee for each sale that you make. The amount we charge is dependent on the plan you have, which you can find in the Dashboard of your Studio Settings.

Though you are not required to use our Payment Service to sell Publications through your Studio, we think you will find it worth the cost. Click here to find out more about our Payment Service.

For up to date pricing information and to compare plans, visit our Pricing Page.


Platform Pricing & Service Fees

You can use your Studio to provide both free and paid learning experiences through Products that you create in your Studio. A Product can be a Meetup or a Pre-Recorded Publication (a Lesson or a Course).

Though you are not required to use our Payment Service to sell learning experiences through your Studio, we think you will find it worth the cost. All your transactions are easily accessed for your accounting tasks, and your students can access their payment history as well. Click here to find out more about our Payment Service.

Free Learning Experiences

We do not charge any service fees when you offer free learning experiences through your Studio. Generally, this is how you will use your Studio if you using other payment services.

Charging For Learning Experiences

You can use our Payment Service to sell learning experiences through your Studio, and you can charge whatever you want. We deduct a small service fee from each sale, along with a payment processing fee. The remaining amount is credited to your account and you will be paid when initiate a Payout from your Studio's Account Settings page.

Your service fee is based on the subscription plan that you choose for your Studio. You can find out which plan you are subscribed to in the Dashboard of your Studio Settings.

Studio Plan Subscriptions

We offer both free and paid subscriptions for your Studio. Each plan includes a set of features and data allowances. Choose the plan that is right for you and what you need for your teaching practice. View our Pricing page to see a comparison of available plans. If you have any questions about your plan, send us an email at support@musiclessons.com

Credit Card Processing Fee

Your credit card processing fee is an industry standard 3% of the total purchase price, plus a $0.30 transaction fee. You only pay one transaction fee for any one purchase, so when multiple products are sold in a single purchase, there is only one $0.30 transaction fee applied.


NOTE: VIP Pricing is available if you are participating in our VIP program.

VIP Pricing

MusicLessons.com offers a VIP Program for qualified educators. Teachers who are in the program receive the following discounted pricing benefit in exchange for helping us build a better platform:

If you are part of our VIP Program, you will receive following discounted service fees that are deducted from the sale of any of your learning experiences:

  • Subscription Discount: 25% off any paid plan!
    Choose a paid subscription for your studio and get a discount.

  • Payment Service Discount: 10% of each sale*
    When you use our Payment Service for lessons, classes, and pre-recorded publications (lessons and courses), your service fee is calculated from your total sale price multiplied by this discounted rate.

  • Free Zoom Pro Account: integrated directly into your meetings, $149.90/year value.

  • VIP Badge: V.I.P. your VIP badge will be displayed with your profile and recognizes your participation in the program.

  • Premium Support: we will be available to help with all aspects of building and supporting your studio and you will receive the highest attention possible if you ever need help.

Please view our Pricing page for current pricing information for all our platform services.

*Does not include a payment processing fee of 3% of the total sale, plus $0.30 per transaction.


Interested in participating in our VIP Program?

Visit our VIP Program page and fill out the VIP Request form, or send us an email at support@musiclessons.com.

How Do I Get Paid?

If you sell access to your Publications, funds will be available in your Account that you can payout to your bank account. We partner with Stripe to make secure payments to your bank account. You can setup your bank account in your Studio Settings > Account page.

If you have any questions or concerns about how payments are handled, please contact support@musiclessons.com or see our payouts page.

Creating a Publication

All publications are assembled on MusicLessons.com by using our built-in editing tools. Along with these tools, you may also need additional software to edit videos, audio, music notation, and PDF files.

You can create a new publication from your Lessons & Courses page by clicking the New Publication button in the toolbar. You will then be asked to choose the type of publication you want to create (a lesson or a course). If you create a lesson this way, it will be created as a stand-alone lesson, but can be added to a course at a later time.

To create a lesson directly inside a course, open the course home page (not the preview page), and click on the Course Builder button. This will let you add lessons directly to the course outline.

When a publication is created, it is automatically assigned the Editing status, which allows it to be edited. See Setting the Status for more information.

Planning for Success

The process of building a successful lesson or course starts with making a plan of what you want to teach, how you want to convey the information, and how you want to organize lessons into a course.

Ideally, lessons should contain only enough information that can be consumed by a student within a short period of time, perhaps 15-30 minutes. It's entirely up to you how much instruction you want to include.

It is easier to produce several short videos in bite-sized chunks than it is to produce one long video. Short videos are also easier to consume while making it easier to locate previously viewed segments.

For each concept that you present in a lesson, include the following:

  1. An introduction to the concept in the form of video, text, or both
  2. One or more demonstration videos that including relvant exercises in slow and real-time speeds that students can easily find and loop
  3. Any additional information about the concept, including notation as a PDF, MusicXML, Tablature, etc.

Editing Basics

Lessons and courses are both publications, and they are edited by using the built-in editing tools on this site.

A publication can only be edited if its status is set to Editing. This policy is in place to ensure that members can only purchase publications that are finalized, and it allows the Publishing Service to determine what is being edited. See Setting the Status for more information.

The following information is required for all publications (lessons and courses):

  • Title - The title of your publication. Be short and concise.
  • Short Description - This should augment your title and will always be displayed next to your title. Keep it short... one sentence in length.
  • Introduction - A good introduction is brief and speaks to what the student should expect to learn. This will display prominently at the top of your publication, and is also used in promotional material.
  • Abilities - Specify the target ability levels for your publication.
  • Tags - Tags are used for searching and they add weight to the terms within the tag. Tagging your content appropriately will help students find your content when they search for terms that you've used in your tags.
    NOTE: Courses will automatically inherit all the tags that are set in the lessons.

Editing Lessons

You can create a lesson by clicking on the New Publication button in the toolbar of your Lessons & Courses page, or by adding them directly to a course using the Course Builder tool from a course's home page.

After your lesson is created, open it and click on the Edit Lesson link to open the lesson editor.

The lesson editor is organized into lesson items starting with a Lesson Information item where you can edit the title, short description, detailed description, ability levels, tags, price, and other settings.

To add content to a lesson, click the Add Content button in the toolbar, which is located either to the left or above the editor. Select the type of content you want to add, and then click the Add button. A new lesson item will appear in the editor where you will enter the information appropriate for that type of content.

The various types of content that are supported in a lesson are:

  • Uploaded Files: These can be media files, such as video, audio, and images, or music notation. Each file may also include a title and formatted description. See Uploading Files.
  • Formatted Text: You can add HTML text (formatted text) using an HTML editor.
  • Tablature: You can create tablature that is displayed in a mono-spaced font using our Tablature editor.
  • YouTube Videos: You can add a YouTube video by specifying a YouTube.com video ID. This is the 11 character code that is found in the web address of a YouTube video. You can add either the ID, or the address (URL). NOTE: YouTube does not allow videos acessed using 3rd party payment systems, therefore YouTube videos will always be shown, even if lesson has not been purchased.

Editing Courses

Create a course by clicking on the strong>New Publication button in the toolbar of your Lessons & Courses page.

After your course is created, you will be taken to the course's preview page, and the course will be set to the Editing status. Click on the Open Course button to go to the course's home page where you can begin editing it.

Click on the Edit Course tab to edit the basic information for your course, like the title, descriptions, tags, YouTube.com video, and pricing. See Editing Basics for more information about these fields.

Building Your Course Outline

From your course home page, click on the Course Builder button near the top of the page. This will toggle a mode that allows you to add lessons and sections directly to your course.

Drag and drop lesson's to change the order. Use the section arrow buttons to move a section up or down.

All lessons in a course must be located in a section. When there is only 1 section in a course, the section header is not displayed in the course outline.

Turning off Course Builder will allow you to click on the lessons you created to open and edit them.

Setting Your Prices

Setting the price for a publication is entirely up to you. Your publications can be free, but if you choose to sell your content, the minimum price for a course is $4.99, and the minimum price for a lesson is $0.99.

Lessons that are part of a Course can also be sold individually if you choose. You can set this option when you edit your lesson, which is also where you set the price when individually purchased.

Setting the Status

The Status of a publication indicates its current state, and determines what actions can applied to it. You can set the status of your publications in the Settings tab of a lesson, or on a course's home page.

Publications can be set to the following status:

  • Published - This is the finished state of a publication, which means that it can be found and purchased by anyone in the world.
  • Editing - The publication is being edited. While being edited, the publication cannot be found or purchased by the general public, thought it can still be accessed by anyone who purchased it. A green bar will appear across the top indicating that it is currently being edited.
  • Offline - The publication is offline, which means it cannot be or edited. Use this status if you want to take a publication out of your editing queue, but you don't want to delete it.
  • Deleted - The publication has been deleted, though it can be restored in the future.
  • Removed - The publication has been removed by a content moderator because it violates one or more policies, such as copyright infringement.

Uploading Files

You can upload video, audio, image, inline music notation (MusicXML, MEI), and PDF files into your lessons, which allows you to build high quality, media-rich content that you can sell. Your uploaded files will be processed, which may take a few minutes after the upload completes.

Maximum File Size

The maximum file size is 2 GB. This would be a very large file, and could take hours to upload, depending on your upload speed. Check out this cool upload time calculator to estimate your upload time.


Supported File Types

You can upload the following file types into your lessons:

Video

We support video files in the following formats: .mp4, .mov, .wmv, .avi, .mpg, .m2v, .m4v. Your videos will be processed and constrained to the maximum dimensions of 1920 x 1080. It is recommended that you upload videos that are within these dimensions in order to reduce the time it takes to upload and process your video files.

Audio

Currently, the only supported audio format is mp3. The maximum bit rate is 256 Kbps.

Images

All major image formats are supported, which includes .jpg, .gif, .png. Images will be processed and constrained to no larger than 1920 x 1080.

Music Notation

Music Notation can be uploaded using the MusicXML format (.xml - see https://www.musicxml.com/), and Music Encoding Initiative (.mei - see https://music-encoding.org/).

PDF

The Adobe Portable Document Format PDF is also supported.

Making Previews of Video and Audio Files

A "Preview" is an excerpt taken from a video or audio file that shown in place of the original file, when a user has not purchased access to your Lesson, i.e. Preview Mode. Previews provide your potential customers with a "teasers" so that they may be more inclined to purchase your Lesson.

When your content is viewed in Preview Mode, the user can only see the preview that you created, and not the original file. You can also show the complete video or audio by setting Allow full access checkbox for the lesson item that contains the file.

Creating Previews

You can create previews after your original file was uploaded and processed. To create a preview, click on the Preview Settings link that is shown below audio and video files, when editing a lesson.

NOTE: This link will only appear after your media file has been processed.

Preview Mode & Access To Content

Preview Mode describes how your Lesson content is displayed when the user does not have full access to it. By default, your uploaded files will not display, and only partial sections of text will be displayed. You can easily change what you want to show in Preview Mode when editing your Lessons.

When editing a Lesson Item, you can check the Allow full access when viewed in preview mode checkbox to allow that item to be shown in Preview Mode.

Making Video & Audio Previews

You can create previews of your uploaded video and audio files using the Lesson Editor. See Making Media Previews for more information.

Search Engines (SEO)

Search engines, like Google, Bing, and others, collect text from MusicLessons.com that is included in their search results. The trick is to write your content so that search engines will help drive potential customers to your content. Your titles and descriptions should be written with this in mind, and the tags you enter will increase the weight of those terms.

Use words and phrases in your text that are likely to be searched by students looking for the content that you're creating.

Avoid trying to trick people into clicking on your content by using terms that are not relevant. This is never a good idea!

Copyrights

Educators using the Publishing Service will always maintain full rights to their content. They must also respect any and all existing copyrights, making sure that they have written permission and are authorized to include any copyrighted material in their publications.

Please refer to the Publishing Service Policy for more information about copyrights.

Marketing Tips

Always include short introduction videos for your lessons.

Instead of uploading your introduction videos directly to your content, upload them to YouTube.com and apply them to your lessons and courses. Be sure to include the share link in the YouTube description to drive traffic to your content.

When building a lesson, consider how it will be displayed to potential customers in preview mode. You can choose which parts of a lesson are shown in preview mode when editing the content items in a lesson. After you publish your lesson, open it without being logged in so you can see how it displays.

Social Media Sharing

Now that you've created your content and are ready to start selling it, the most effective way to get the word out is by sharing it through your social media accounts.

When your publish a lesson or a course, a share link is created, which is the preferred link to use to share your content. This link can be found in the Settings tab on your course home page or lesson page.

It is also very easy to share your content on social media by using the share buttons that appear at the top of your published content.

Note: Publications must be published before they can be shared.

Lesson Checklist

  1. Title is short, concise, and in title case.
  2. Short Description about 1 sentence in length and augments the title without repeating words when possible. Include the target instrument if not already in the title.
  3. Long Description is about 1 paragraph in length, and includes more details about the lesson.
  4. Ability Levels are set.
  5. Tags are set.
  6. YouTube.com Promotional Video is set, which introduces the lesson and is publicly visible on YouTube.com, and is set to be embeddable.
  7. The lesson has at least one content item, but can have as many items as are necessary.
  8. All lesson content has been proof read and corrected.
  9. Your Author Information has been filled out and an image has been uploaded. You can set this in your Studio Manager under the Pages tab.
  10. Your W-9 Tax Form has been filled out and submitted., which is found in your Studio Manager under the Account tab.

Course Checklist

  1. Title is short, concise, and in title case.
  2. Short Description about 1 sentence in length and augments the title without repeating words when possible. Include the target instrument if not already in the title.
  3. Long Description is about 1 paragraph in length, and includes more details about the course.
  4. Ability Levels are set.
  5. Additional Tags are included. NOTE: All tags from the course's lessons will automatically be inherited, but you can add new tags to the list.
  6. YouTube.com Promotional Video is set, which introduces the lesson and is publicly visible on YouTube.com, and is set to be embeddable.
  7. Course Image has been uploaded, which should be a square, 1400px x 1400px.
  8. At least 3 published lessons are included the course.
  9. Your Author Information has been filled out and an image has been uploaded. You can set this in your Studio Manager under the Pages tab.
  10. Your W-9 Tax Form has been filled out and submitted., which is found in your Studio Manager under the Account tab.

How To Get Additional Help & Support

Please email any questions or problems you encounter to support@musiclessons.com. We will do our very best to respond quickly. In most cases, we should be able to respond within an hour or two.

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