ClarinetMike’s Top 10 Tips for Successful Private Lessons!

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

Schools of all kinds are starting here in the USA and for most music students that means back to private lessons. For many students it also means a new city, new school, and a new private lesson teacher. The tips below will help students get the most out of private lessons.

ClarinetMike’s Top 10 Tips for Successful Private Lessons!
by Dr. Michael Dean “ClarinetMike”

  1. Practice. Treat private lessons like an academic class. Carefully and completely do your homework = LOTS OF GREAT DAILY PRACTICE!
  2. Warm Up and Be Early. Warm up thoroughly before the lesson. Show up 5 minutes early to the lesson with instrument “ready to go” and wait patiently outside your teacher’s studio door.
  3. No Beeps, Buzzers or Bells. Turn off cell phone and other gizmos during the lesson and while waiting patiently outside the studio door.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.”
  6. Write It Down. After the lesson, write down what was discussed, assignments, etc. Keeping a notebook for lessons is a great idea.
  7. Lock It In. Make a point to practice at least a little soon after the lesson. This will help “lock in” what was taught.
  8. Practice Wisely. Make sure you practice all that the teacher assigns in the way that the teacher has directed you.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 will likely be writing a letter of recommendation for you in the future. So please follow these tips.

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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5 Responses to ClarinetMike’s Top 10 Tips for Successful Private Lessons!

  1. Emily Skala says:

    Terrific advice Mike!

  2. Pingback: Favorite blog posts, August 2019 | Bret Pimentel, woodwinds

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