12 Simple Steps to Sensational Private Lessons! Follow These and Your Performing Will Skyrocket!

ClarinetMike says, “Notice below that great private lessons begin and end with great practicing.”

Hey! Below are some common-sense tips that will help students get the most out of private lessons.

12 Simple Steps to Sensational Private Lessons! by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Practice. Treat private lessons like an important class. Carefully and completely do your homework = LOTS OF GREAT DAILY PRACTICE!
  2. Warm Up. Warm up thoroughly before the lesson.
  3. Be Early. Show up 5 minutes early to the lesson with instrument “ready to go” and wait patiently outside your teacher’s studio door.
  4. No Beeps, Buzzers or Bells. Turn off cell phone and other gizmos during the lesson and while waiting patiently outside the studio door.
  5. “I’m late, I’m late….” Don’t be late to a lesson, but if you are running late [like the White Rabbit in Alice], send a text to your teacher immediately.
  6. LISTEN! Be eager to listen and learn from the teacher. The point of lessons is to learn how to play the instrument better. Lessons are not meant for you to play the entire time. If the teacher makes no comments, you didn’t get a lesson!
  7. COURTESY! Always treat the teacher with respect and courtesy, even if you don’t feel well or the teacher is cranky – you are taking lessons to get better on the instrument, NOT to hang out with a “buddy.”
  8. Write It Down. After the lesson, write down what was discussed, assignments, etc. Keeping a notebook for lessons is a great idea.
  9. Lock It In. Make a point to practice at least a little after the lesson. This will help “lock in” what was taught.
  10. Practice Wisely. Make sure you practice all that the teacher assigns in the way that the teacher has directed you.
  11. Do Extra. Show initiative and do extra work in your lesson preparation. For example, if your teacher assigns you to listen to a recording of a work, listen to 3 recordings.
  12. Practice Log. Keep a practice log of all practicing. Putting it on your wall or near your work desk will remind you to practice.

BONUS: Steps Ahead. Remember that your private lesson teacher may be writing a letter of recommendation for you in the future. So please follow these guidelines.

About ClarinetMike

American clarinetist MICHAEL DEAN performs and teaches internationally and across the USA to consistent praise such as "world-class clarinetist and pedagogue," "consummate performer," "inspirational," "outstanding teacher," "super," "brilliant performer," and "one of the best clinicians I have ever seen." His career is headlined by appearances at Carnegie Hall, ClarinetFest, NACWPI, Eastman School of Music, and Royal Northern College of Music with recent recitals and master classes in Canada, Italy, Spain, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. In July, he will again return to Vipiteno, Italy as Clarinet Artist Faculty in Residence at the international Orfeo Music Festival 2019. He is featured on 5 commercial CD's and on New Media, such as YouTube. He is currently preparing another new clarinet CD, Postcards from Silver Lake. Dr. Dean has given more than 500 clinics, master classes and performances at high schools, universities, conferences and other venues. For 11 years he was a clarinetist with the Paducah Symphony and he's also performed with the Southwest Symphony, Nevada Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Southeast Chamber Players, Red Mesa Trio, and Duo 35. His articles appear in journals such as Southwestern Musician, WINDPLAYER, NACWPI Journal and The Bandmasters' Review. As "ClarinetMike," he writes for his widely-viewed ClarinetMike Blog, the Internet’s #1 clarinet blog read in 150 countries on 6 continents: clarinetmike.wordpress.com. After a successful 25 years of teaching clarinet at the university level, he relocated to his native Texas due to family concerns. He is a past president and former National Board officer of the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors (NACWPI). Dr. Michael Dean studied clarinet performance at Texas Tech University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington. His teachers include Robert Walzel, Phil Aaholm, Carol Jessup, Jess Youngblood, and Bob Ackerman. His web page, clarinetmike.com, features video of his teaching and performing as well as information on his CD's and other publications. He is a BG France Performing Artist.
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4 Responses to 12 Simple Steps to Sensational Private Lessons! Follow These and Your Performing Will Skyrocket!

  1. Gerald Greer says:

    Any advice for an aging clarinetist whose hands are getting gnarled with arthritis, and who is losing feeling in the fingers, making sealing the holes a hit or miss thing. I’ve played for over 60 years and am a former symphony orchestra principal clarinetist as well as the soloist who re-creates the Goodman & Shaw solos in the swing band I play with.

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