smart phone running Microsoft's Skype app

Skype is a telecommunication software application that allows you to make video and voice calls, exchange text messages, send files and share contact details.

Since 2011 Skype has been owned by Microsoft.

Different versions are available, allowing it to run on phones, tablets, PCs, Macs and Chromebooks.

As of May 2020, Skype offers versions for Android Phone & Tablet, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, Linux, Windows, Windows 10 & Windows 10 Mobile, Amazon Kindle Fire HD/HDX & Fire HD Tablet and Xbox One.

In addition there is Skype Web, a web based version that runs on PCs, laptops, Chromebooks and Mac.

All versions can be installed and used for free.

Here we take a look at what Skype offers. For installation and support please refer to our Skype Resources links.

1. Skype App

Using the Skype app on a smart phone or tablet can work well for piano lessons. It does lack some of the features found in the Skype Web and PC/Mac versions, such as the ability to fine tune the audio and video settings, but this generally doesn't present a problem.

Like the other versions of Skype it supports group calls, which will be used if you have two devices.

2. Skype Web

Skype Web allows you to make a call from their website, although you must be using either the Chrome browser or Microsoft Edge.

The primary purpose of this is to allow you to make Skype calls from devices that do not have Skype installed (although Chrome users will need give Chrome permission to install a plug-in the first time you run it).

Unlike the Skype app, Skype Web supports multiple cameras and microphones, allowing you to switch camera and / or microphone during a call.

You may have read elsewhere that Skype for Web does not work on a Chromebook. While that may have been true at some point, I have tested Skype Web on Chromebook with a webcam and it worked flawlessly.

It is worth pointing out that Android's Chrome browser must be set to Desktop Site in the browser's settings. It is by default, but if you receive a "Device not supported" message when you land on Skype Web, most likely it's been removed and you'll need tick it again.

Tests were carried out using an HP Chromebook 15-de0002na during March and April 2020. We used both the on-board camera and microphone, a Logitech C930 webcam and its mic, and also switched cameras mid-call. All worked well.

The alternative to Skype Web on a Chromebook is the Android app. I prefer the functionality of Skype Web, but for daily use it is admittedly easier to have the app start on load up and running in the background.

Skype Web is not designed to work on a mobile phone.

3. Skype for Windows / Mac

If you have a PC, laptop or Mac you will usually run the Skype program (or app, as Windows 10 has it). This offers the full functionality of Skype, broadly in line with Skype Web, but with the distinct advantage it doesn't require a browser tab to be open and can be left running in the background when you close it.

As with Skype Web, and unlike the Skype App, Skype for Windows / Mac supports multiple cameras and microphones.

In addition, if you have (at least) two cameras and two mics attached to your device, by using Skype for Windows / Mac and Skype Web you can use two Skype accounts at the same time. You can also include your two accounts in a group call.

What My Pupils Say
open quotation marksMy wife and I are in our early seventies and have been pupils of Suzanne for over 5 years. We cannot speak too highly of her both as a person and as a piano teacher.

She is extremely competent and an excellent teacher. As well as her evident skill as a pianist she has a wide technical knowledge too, which she imparts with an easy, gentle manner. She is kind and very patient and helpful.

We would recommend her, without any hesitation, to any potential pupil of whatever age. close quotation marks
Mike & Sue Evans
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