Here are the Top 5 things you should know before signing up for private music lessons.
1. Private music lessons are not just for children.
It is widely accepted that children learn faster than adults. While they may have a shorter attention span, children tend to focus on whatever they’re doing in the moment. Children who are able to sit and focus for 30 minutes at a time, under the guidance of a professional music instructor tend to learn new ideas and motor skills very quickly.
Adults typically have a longer attention span than children but they are likely to have less short term focus. This is probably due to the fact that adults have many other things on their minds at any given time. Their minds are switching quickly from thoughts of work or business to thoughts of today’s schedule or agenda or any number of other things.
The bottom line is that children and adults do very well with learning to play a musical instrument if they attend weekly lessons and have a good practice habit at home. Almost anyone can block out other thoughts and responsibilities for a few minutes a day.
2. Learning to play music is good therapy.
Playing a musical instrument helps with
- Focus and Concentration
- Self Discipline
- Developing Motor Skills
- Sense of Accomplishment
Many people want to be able to play along with another person, in a group or even as part of an orchestra. Combining your newly developed musical skills with those of other musicians can be rewarding beyond description!
3. Very young children may not yet be ready for private music lessons.
Some parents are blessed with a child who displays a great amount of artistic ability at a very young age. Some toddlers are very musical leading parents to want to give them every opportunity to develop their talents. Children under the age of five can be exposed to musical instruments in many ways and be encouraged to learn all about different styles of music and various types of musical instruments.
When a child is able to recite the alphabet and has learned some basic reading skills, he or she may be ready to work with a professional music instructor. This usually happens around age four or five. Your child should also possess some communication skills and be able to remember and follow basic instructions.
If you have a child who is four or five years old and you feel she may be ready for lessons, you can schedule a one-time trial lesson and let the instructor tell you if they feel that the child can benefit from private lessons – or if they should wait a while, usually another year.
4. How to find a really good music teacher or studio.
I have known of musicians who are very accomplished on their instrument but make poor teachers. They tend to be more likely to show the student what to do and expect the student to simply do it. The teacher will become frustrated after showing a technique muliple times only to discover that the student “just doesn’t get it.”
A good music instructor will have a plan and a program to follow and will help the student to understand what they are doing as well as showing them how to do it. The student will have a lesson book or some other written material to take home and will know exactly what to practice and how to practice. This approach almost guarantees success for any student who is willing to put in a few minutes each day going over the material and practicing the physical movements required to play the instrument.
A professional instructor will never become frustrated with the pace of the student because the student will only be expected to attend the lesson and follow and practice a few simple directions. There will never be any unrealistic expectations placed on the student. There is no frustration on the part of the instructor. A professional instructor knows that students who do not attend lessons and practice regularly at home will quickly drop out, perhaps finding that music lessons aren’t for them – or that it’s possibly not the right time. In other words, the students who don’t practice and make reasonable progress will weed themselves out.
5. Going to a professional music studio or academy is better than having a tutor come to your home.
This is undoubtedly an argumentative statement and in-home tutors will probably disagree. I admit my bias because I work with students in a private studio, but I can give you a few compelling reasons for my statement:
- By taking your child (or yourself) to a music studio each week, you are leaving your normal comfort zone and going into an environment that is designed for the success of students.
- The studio will always have all the support materials and supplies on hand. Whether it’s a lesson book, supplemental book, tuner, metronome, music stand or some other accessory that will benefit you, the professional studio will have these items in stock at all times.
- You will be around others who are learning just like you. At a studio or academy, even if it’s just in passing each week, you will see other people who are learning to play music. This will give you the feeling of being part of something bigger.
- A professional studio is more likely to have regular recitals and with a larger group of students and much larger audience! Performance in front of an audience is an important part of the learning process as it helps you to focus more intently on one particular piece of music. As you master your recital piece in preparation for the big day, you will at the same time begin to develop the ability to master almost anything you desire! Recitals are also very important for family members and friends to see and hear your progress. Their genuine pride increases your own personal feelings of accomplishment and pride.
Do you want to learn to play music? You can. Just start! If you can’t find a great studio in your area, then get hold of an instrument and use whatever resources you can and start playing today! There are lots of very good instructional videos available for free online. You might also consider joining a music group in your area such as a community band, choral group or a church worship group. Even with the most basic music skills you can find lots of support and enjoyment near where you live.
Please add your thoughts, ideas and questions in the comments section below.