If your child is expressing an interest in playing an instrument, then you may be tempted to simply sign him up for the school band.
Playing in a band can be a wonderful way to learn an instrument while also forging lasting friendships, but it isn't necessarily the best possible place to learn how to be truly proficient with a musical instrument.
For that, it may be necessary to take private music lessons. Any student who is even mildly serious about music deserves an opportunity to take private lessons. If you are wondering what advantages might come from one-on-one sessions with a teacher, then you have come to the right place.
Let's talk about five reasons why private music lessons work.
1. Instant Feedback and Improvement
When students play their instrument in a classroom setting with many other musicians, there are endless opportunities to learn and practice bad habits. Simply put, it is incredibly difficult for one teacher to provide sufficient individualized attention to every band student in the room.
One of the signs that this is happening to your young musician is a lack of improvement. No matter how many months pass or how much your child practices, she just doesn't seem to grow in proficiency and technique.
The problem may be that her overworked band teacher just doesn't have the ability to give her the one-on-one attention that she needs to really make progress.
The situation is very different with private music lessons. By working solely with a teacher, the student has the opportunity to listen to and watch a musician who is more proficient and experienced at playing their instrument. This means that they get a much better idea of how their instrument should sound.
Because the teacher is sitting right in the room with just one student to teach, it is possible to identify poor techniques in the early stages. This prevents the student from practicing the wrong technique over and over, thereby creating a habit that is really hard to break.
The teacher is there to provide immediate feedback and guidance, and this enables the student to make great strides forward.
2. Keeping Motivation High
If your child is playing in a band or another ensemble at school, then you may have heard some complaints about class moving too slowly or being boring. Frequently, these sentiments arise when the entire class regularly has to be delayed to accommodate a struggling student. Alternatively, it may be that your child is an ardent student of music who is ready to learn more and dive deeper into his chosen instrument.
This is one of the things that makes private music lessons so valuable. Learning to play an instrument with proficiency takes time and dedication. Frequently, that means a great deal of repetition. Nonetheless, it is easier to keep a single student motivated because it is easier to find ways to capture their interest and imagination.
In private music lessons, an instructor might do this by:
- Having the student play his favorite song
- Exposing the student to a new musical genre
- Appealing to that student's specific learning style
- Devising new games and strategies that keep learning fun
As you might imagine, it is much more difficult for an instructor in a large classroom to accomplish these tasks. To a private music instructor, such techniques are merely par for the course. They have dedicated their professional lives to helping kids become proficient musicians with a greater understanding of the art form. Because they have only one student to focus on at a time, they have a rare opportunity to create a meaningful, and different, experience for each student.
It's also extremely helpful to have individualized, one-on-one attention from an accomplished instructor. When the teacher expects progress, then the student will be more motivated to practice and improve.
3. Achieving Goals
Setting goals for an entire classroom full of musicians is virtually impossible. At best, only vague goals can be set and achieved.
Private music lessons provide students with an opportunity to set one or more goals that will help them become better musicians. Examples of goals for private music lessons may be:
- Developing a repertoire to play at a solo recital
- Correcting poor technique or posture habits
- Choosing and perfecting an audition piece
- Mastering an especially difficult piece of music
Goals may be relatively small and finite or they may require months or years of work. Private instructors can help students to achieve smaller goals on a more expedited basis so that the student is able to move on to more complex or challenging material.
When it comes to setting really big goals for the young musician, then the private instructor provides valuable guidance. With their assistance, big goals are broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces, which makes it realistic to achieve the overall goal.
Private lessons are certainly what is necessary if a child wants to play their instrument at college or professionally. Goal setting may be the way to make that a reality.
4. Learning How to Practice
When working with a private instructor, students get the valuable one-on-one guidance that young artists need. They have an opportunity to discuss with a professional how they can best practice their instrument.
This is critical, because how musicians practice is just as critical as the practice itself. As you can imagine, practicing poor techniques, using improper fingering and making other errors erases any benefit that may have come from putting in hours of practice.
While the student may spend an hour or two each week with an instructor, they spend far more time practicing by themselves. What a waste for them to practice bad habits the whole time! This means that lesson time must be devoted to unlearning these bad habits instead of moving forward with new techniques and challenges.
Learning how to practice is critical for all musicians whether they are just starting out with lessons or have been at it for a few years. That's because they will spend most of their time playing by themselves, and this time needs to be as beneficial as possible.
Additionally, a music student who knows how to practice correctly likely will feel much more confident and be better prepared to overcome challenges.
5. Minimizing Frustration
When was the last time that you tried to learn something new? Perhaps you felt the thrills of discovery and accomplishment, which motivated you to keep going.
Then, you hit some kind of obstacle, and the thrill was gone. What was left was frustration that only grew worse the longer and harder that you tried.
Frustration is a part of the young musician's learning experience. However, it's important to find ways to minimize the amount of frustration that the musician feels on a regular basis. Some frustration is natural, but a student who practices in a constant turmoil of frustration is more likely to quit than succeed.
This is a shame, because music is supposed to bring joy to the musician and those who hear her playing. The advantage of working with a private instructor is that frustration tends to be minimized in this setting.
Much of this is attributed to the one-on-one, personalized attention that comes with private music lessons. The teacher has an opportunity to recognize when a student is becoming frustrated and can look for new ways to present the material that might stand a greater chance of being successful.
The teacher might move on to something else, encourage the student to slow down or talk with the student about what happens when they reach a particularly challenging passage. Regardless of the approach taken, it is pretty nearly a guarantee that students who take private music lessons will experience far less frustration along the way.
Setting Up Young Musicians for Success
For some children, learning a musical instrument is more or less a passing interest. Perhaps they will play for a year or two in the school band before moving on to other pastimes and activities.
For other kids, music is central to their lives and identities. They can't imagine a world in which they aren't playing a musical instrument.
If you have a child who is really interested in music, you can foster that interest with private music lessons. This doesn't necessarily mean that your child will one day be a famous concert pianist, but any musical training gives kids a huge boost academically, socially and emotionally.
At Prodigies Music, we like to bring quality musical instruction to kids and their parents wherever they may be. Our programs are geared to homeschooling families, but that's not the only demographic that benefits from our lessons.
Many music teachers, both those who teach band and music classes and those who instruct private lessons, have used our many programs to improve the music education of their students. If you are looking for new inspiration and music-centered activities that are fun and engaging for kids of all ages and abilities, then Prodigies Music is the place for you.