5 Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your Music Lessons
These guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered from years of teaching and our experiences
with teaching hundreds of students.
1. HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG?
Starting at the Right Age
Adults can start any instrument at any time. Their success is based on how willing they are to commit to practicing. We teach many beginner students in their 60's and 70's.
4 Years Old
If a preschooler has a keen desire and wants to start music, a group preschool music class will provide a good foundation in music basics, which will be helpful in later private lessons. At this age, private lessons
are always an option for piano, classical guitar, violin, and cello. We also offer group piano in our Club Music piano class for 4 year olds.
Group and Private Lessons
Starting at age 5, we offer group and private piano, guitar, violin, cello, and singing lessons. At this age, they have begun to develop longer attention spans, and can retain material with ease.
For ages 8 and up, we also offer ukulele, drums, and bass guitar. For ages 10 and up, we also offer bass guitar, harmonica, mandolin, horns, and more.
Guitar - Classical, Acoustic, Electric and Bass
We start 5-year-olds in classical guitar lessons. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings, but the classical guitar with its wider neck and nylon
strings is perfect for young students to learn how to play individual notes on the guitar, read music, and get a good foundation on the guitar. For students 8 years old all the way through adult, we offer
classical, acoustic, and electric guitar. Bass guitar students generally are 10 years old and older. We offer classical guitar packages for students to purchase in sizes 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full.
8-10 years old is recommended as the youngest age for private vocal lessons. Due to the physical nature of voice lessons (proper breathing techniques, development of the vocal chords and lung capacity), the younger
body is generally not yet ready for the rigors of vocal technique. But if they are already singing and performing at an earlier age, give us a call to talk about private lesson options
for younger students.
For ages 5-12, we offer a choir class where young singers can learn the basics of singing, including pitch, timing, simple harmony, and basic breathing and much more.
On average, drum students may start between the ages of 8 and 10. Students must be able to reach both the pedals and the cymbals. Drum students typically start on a drum pad for a couple of years
or so to develop their skills before continuing on to a drum set.
Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone
Due to lung capacity, we recommend that most woodwind beginners are 9 and older.
Trumpet, Baritone, Trombone, French Horn & Tuba
The brass instruments require physical exertion and lung power. 9 years and older is a good time to start playing a brass instrument.
Violin, Viola & Cello
We accept violin, viola, and cello students from the age of 4-5 and up.
Generally, a student will start on the violin since the violin is smaller and easy to handle. After the student has grown a little, it is very easy for to change over to viola or cello if desired.
Viola and cello are made in smaller sizes, so it is possible to start on viola and cello.
2. IF A STUDENT HAS ALREADY BEEN PLAYING FOR A WHILE, PRIVATE LESSONS ARE THE BEST OPTION
The lessons will be on their level, plus teachers can focus on their music style preferences and on needed techniques.
3. TAKE LESSONS IN A PROFESSIONAL TEACHING ENVIRONMENT
Learning music is not just a matter of having a qualified teacher, but also having an environment that is focused on music education. In a professional school environment, a student cannot be distracted by TV, pets,
ringing phones, siblings, or anything else. With only 30 minutes to an hour of lesson time per week, a professional school environment can produce better results, since the only focus at that time is learning music.
Students in a school environment are also motivated by hearing peers who are at different levels, and by being exposed to a variety of musical instruments. In a music school, the lessons are not just a hobby
or sideline for the teacher, but a responsibility which is taken very seriously.
4. MAKE PRACTICING EASIER
As with anything, improving in music takes practice. One of the main problems with music lessons is the drudgery of practicing, and the fight between parents and students to practice every day. Here are some ways
to make practicing easier:
- Set a consistent time every day for practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally, the earlier in the day practicing can occur, the less reminding
is required by parents to get the child to practice.
- We use this method quite often when setting practice schedules for beginners. For a young child, 20 or 30 minutes seems like an eternity. Instead of setting a time frame, we use repetition. For example,
practice a piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day. The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time spent practicing, but knows the third repetition is more than halfway finished.
- This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults rewards themselves with a cappuccino after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them
occasional rewards for successful practicing. In our school, we reward young children for a successful week of practicing, but don’t forget that praise tends to be the most coveted award. There just is no
substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. Sometimes we all have a week with little practicing; in that case, there is always next week.
5. USE RECOGNIZED TEACHING MATERIALS
There are some excellent materials developed by professional music educators that are made for students in a variety of situations. For example, in piano, there are books for very young beginners, and books for
adult students that have never played before. There are books that can start you at a level you are comfortable with.
These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier. These materials ensure that no important part of learning the instrument can be inadvertently be left out.
If you ever have to move to a different part of the country, qualified teachers and institutions will recognize the materials, and be able to smoothly continue from where the previous teacher left off.
Most Importantly . . .