I am often asked, “Why should my child take private lessons?”
Protect your investment. Your child has decided to sign up for band this year and you’ve gone through all the right steps. You have met with the band director, your child was “fitted” for the instrument that would suit them best, you rented or purchased said instrument (and all its accessories, too!), and now they’re ready to go. Right? Well, maybe…
Most beginner band programs are geared to teach up to 30 students at a time, usually in a mixed instrument environment. It’s hard for any band director to devote a reasonable amount of individual attention to every young player to insure their enjoyment and success at playing. What happens when your child gets bored, or frustrated at their progress? What if they want to quit after only one semester? Did your investments in time and money pay off accordingly—and is your child any happier after their experience in band?
By taking the steps to sign up for private lessons, you’re setting yourself and your child up for a better experience in music. The beginning stages of learning a musical instrument can be tough, so the added support and stability of a private instructor can be immeasurable in this tedious stage of development.
Stay on track and be held accountable for your own progress. It’s common for each of us to experience slumps on our path to learning. A private instructor’s years of experience gives them the foresight to know when such a slowdown is on the horizon. Good instruction guarantees that there will always be a new challenge to overcome, and a new step in your progression along with it. The individual lament in slowdown and arduous search for new ideas and concepts isn’t nearly as difficult with some professional guidance.
Along those lines, good students make great teachers. The student who is more active, curious and unafraid to get to work will more often be rewarded with the fruits of their labor. This is the beauty of accountability in private learning: the measure of success comes down to each student’s need to satisfy their own creative impulses, technical problems, general curiosities and passions about music. A good private instructor knows which areas are steadfast and which areas need a boost from time to time.
Learn more than one piece of music, or a single musical style, or one way to think about playing music. The benefit of learning from a trained professional means that you have the advantage of their experience and perspective on your side. When we start to play music, we don’t have many choices to make about how we want to play or sound or think due to our lack of experience. A teacher’s role is to open the many doors to thinking bigger about all these qualities. A gifted teacher will make it a point to help and develop their student to the best of their abilities based on the student’s natural gifts, instincts and interests.
Greater enrichment. The more we learn in music can help boost our satisfaction and appreciation for listening and playing. Think of each stage of progression in playing a musical instrument as a cycle of reinforcement for deeper learning. From introduction to imitation to internalization to innovation, each step helps to bring a different perspective and understanding of a core musical concept.
Negotiate problem-solving strategies and learn self-reliance. Having good strategy is the most valuable resource that any student can have because it is the beginning of the student learning to teach themselves. This builds our confidence and gives them a route to their goals. Along the way, we develop ideas of good and bad tastes along with a system of values that we never forfeit. I strive to enrich each of my students with a way of thinking that rewards holistic musical and creative thinking.
Gain confidence. This is a no-brainer, but I feel is often tossed aside because it is so obvious. The very act of acquiring a new skill, no matter how specific or seemingly innocuous, is empowering. The act of learning gives us all a sense of betterment, and being able to demonstrate what we’ve learned by playing music is a tangible, beautiful thing for all to enjoy.
Every time we perform, we continue to hone our skills by utilizing our mental and physical wits, focus and discipline that is required to play music well. This goes on to reinforce other good habits and feelings of accomplishment by doing a skill well, and doing it better the next time. I can’t think of a better reason to practice.