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”
- Practice. Treat private lessons like an academic class. Carefully and completely do your homework = LOTS OF GREAT DAILY PRACTICE!
- 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.
- No Beeps, Buzzers or Bells. Turn off cell phone and other gizmos during the lesson and while waiting patiently outside the studio door.
- 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!
- 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.”
- Write It Down. After the lesson, write down what was discussed, assignments, etc. Keeping a notebook for lessons is a great idea.
- Lock It In. Make a point to practice at least a little soon after the lesson. This will help “lock in” what was taught.
- Practice Wisely. Make sure you practice all that the teacher assigns in the way that the teacher has directed you.
- 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.
- 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.