Photo: Professor Gerardo Ribeiro conducts a violin lesson via Zoom.

A joint effort by the Bienen School of Music and its technology colleagues at the Yale School of Music and other peer institutions has resulted in upgrades to Zoom that will greatly benefit online music instruction. 

Zoom—Northwestern’s preferred method for video interactions—recently released a new “high fidelity music mode,” which enables users to turn off some features that hinder music-making while taking advantage of a sampling rate much higher than was previously available. 

Ray Mathew, Principal Technology Officer at the Bienen School, participated in discussions that led to these Zoom improvements. “After an initial group conversation involving the Seven Springs schools of music, along with a number of others from around the country, it was a privilege to be specifically invited to work with the Yale School of Music, Peabody Institute, Juilliard School, and Eastman School of Music in approaching Zoom directly and helping to develop a way to support music instruction with significantly higher fidelity than was previously possible,” Mathew said. 

“The changes that have been made to the underlying technology, plus the new settings we now have access to, will go a very long way to helping us ease the last-mile problems of connecting students and instructors," he added. "I'm glad that this work will benefit everyone who is using Zoom to teach during these difficult times.”

 More information may be found on the Yale School of Music website. 

In a message to faculty and staff, Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery expressed great appreciation to Mathew for his efforts to improve the educational experience of Bienen students.

Bienen faculty and students have been using Zoom since spring quarter 2020, when the COVID pandemic forced classes to quickly move to an online format. Fall classes are planned as a hybrid model, with a mix of face-to-face and virtual instruction through Zoom.


  • Toni-Marie Montgomery