Many adults have a story that starts with “Oh, I used to take piano/violin/flute lessons, but then I stopped. I wish I hadn’t quit.” Sound familiar? Well whether you’re an adult rediscovering your lost talent or encouraging your child to continue, here are a few ways to keep the motivation going and get the most out of your private music lessons.
Only the Best
Set yourself up for success by finding the best teacher, with a caveat, the best teacher for you. Gone are the days of rigid lessons with rulers striking the hand for playing any wrong note! Modern-day music teachers come in all styles and personalities. Choose a teacher with a proven track record and clear communication skills. Experience does not only come with age. There are some very high-quality younger teachers who have a brilliant energy, so don’t discount a younger teacher just because of age. Go more with the teacher’s ability to encourage and explain musical skills clearly so that you have all the necessary tools to succeed.
Make it a Priority
Scheduling lessons and practice can be difficult with so many other activities in the family. Many families are over-scheduled and this can cause serious music lesson neglect. Look at your schedule, and carve out time not only for the lesson, but for regular practice, at least 5 out of 7 days in the week. Small chunks of regular practice is much more useful than a once-a-week marathon cram session the day before the lesson. Another important tip: schedule a lesson time that will work for most of the school year. It is very difficult for teachers to change their schedules mid-year when the student suddenly has play practice or a seasonal sport.
Some teachers have a system in place for lesson notes, some have the parents take notes, and some offer weekly charts and handouts to help. Have a dedicated music notebook or binder and write all important dates on the family calendar. (You’d be surprised how many don’t write down dates until right before the event!) Include dates for concerts to attend as part of your child’s education. It is important for students to attend concerts where their teacher is performing, or go to events that are related to their instrument of study.
Record Important Points
This is so important and also so easy now with smartphones! Years ago students had to have special equipment to audio record or video a lesson. Now you can immediately record anytime. The entire lesson does not need to be recorded. Record snippets of important practice points where the teacher explains a new skill or a difficult passage. Then you can easily refer back each day when you practice to the demonstration and make sure you are practicing correctly. This saves so much time!
These are just a few tips to help you get the most out of your music lessons. Studying an instrument takes years of diligence, hard work, and passion. Do you have what it takes?
Tempi Senior Content Producer and International Musician