Get the Most Out of Music Lessons

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Music Lessons

 

These guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips that we have discovered throughout our experiences with 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 an adult is to commit to practicing. We teach many beginner students in their 60’s and 70’s.

 

For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is put into lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed and frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off music just because they had one unpleasant experience which could have been prevented. Sometimes if the child waits a year to start lessons their progress can be much faster. Children who are older than the suggested earliest starting age usually do very well. The following are guidelines we have found to be successful in determining how young a child can start taking music lessons.

 

18 months - 4 Years Old

If a pre-schooler has a keen desire and wants to start music, our group preschool music class called "MusicFunTime" class will give them a good foundation in music basics which will be helpful in later private lessons. At this age, private lessons generally do not work as the child has not yet experienced the formal learning environment of kindergarten. 2 - 4 yrs. old usually learn more effectively through a game oriented preschool environment. Find out more asbout this amazing educational program by clicking here.

 

Piano / Keyboard

5 years old is the youngest age that we start children in private piano lessons. At this age they have begun to develop longer attention spans and can retain material with ease.

 

Guitar - Acoustic, Electric and Bass

8 years old is the earliest we recommend for guitar lessons. Guitar playing requires a fair amount of pressure on the fingertips from pressing on the strings. Children under 8 generally have small hands and may find playing uncomfortable. Bass guitar students generally are 10 years old and older.

 

Voice Lessons

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. For children younger than 10, we recommend a piano focused music lesson. Ask us about setting you up with an instructor who teaches both piano and singing to work in some basics of singing at an earlier age.

 

Drums

The average age of our youngest drum student is 8. You do not have to have a drumset to get started. Most beginner lessons are taught on a drum practice pad with drumsticks. These can be purchased for about $35.

 

Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone

Due to lung capacity (and in the case of the saxophone the size of the instrument), we recommend that most woodwind beginners are 9 and older.

 

Violin

We accept violin students starting at the age of 5. Some teachers will start children as young as 3, but experience has shown us the most productive learning occurs when the beginner is 5 or older.

 

Trumpet

The trumpet requires physical exertion and lung power. 9 years and older is a good time to start the trumpet.

2. Choose a music company which offers a choice of group or individual lessons for beginners

 

Different students require different teaching approaches. Some students progress best with the peer interaction and class motivation of a group session. Other students prefer the focused concentration of an individual one on one lesson. Once a student is more advanced it will be necessary to take private lessons to master the advanced techniques of an instrument or voice with individual attention. Make sure that your student has the option to select the learning style that is best suited for them. At most of our schools, we offer private, semi-private (2 -3 students per lesson) and group classes. 

3. Take lessons from Music Instructors, not just musicians

 

Being a fantastic musician does not make someone a fantastic music teacher. Teaching is an art to itself. Students learn in very different ways, and a music instructor must be able to communicate their lesson in many different ways. We hire passionate musicians who love to teach and inspire. Most of our staff are performing musicians as well as skilled instructors.

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:

 

Time

Set the same time every day to practice so it becomes part of a routine or habit. This works particularly well for children. Generally the earlier in the day the practicing can occur, the less reminding is required by parents to get the child to practice.

 

Repetition

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 this piece 4 times every day, and this scale 5 times a day. The child then does not pay attention to the amount of time they are practicing their instrument, but knows if they are on repetition number 4 they are almost finished.

 

Rewards

This works very well for both children and adult students. Some adults reward themselves with a cappuccino after a successful week of practicing. Parents can encourage children to practice by granting them occasional rewards for successful practicing. With younger students, our music instructors might reward a good lesson with stars and stickers on their work. Praise tends to be the most coveted award - there just is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done. As for the week with little practicing, we have all been there, 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 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. All books are included in your yearly registration fee. There are no additional fees.

Most importantly... HAVE FUN!

 

Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. So, try not to put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your children to learn too quickly. Everyone learns at a different pace. The key is to be able to enjoy the journey.