3 tips to getting the most out of modern music lessons

Let’s all take a moment to travel back in time to the 1970’s simply to attend a private music lesson. What do you notice? Besides, the fact that the lesson cost you under $10? All you need is your traditional method book, your teacher and your instrument. The songs you learn are limited to what is available in print and your teacher writes your practice into an exercise book. No internet, no mp3 backing tracks, just sheet music and a metronome.

Flash forward to the present. We have infinite resources available to us, you can learn any song you like and technological advancements over the past 50 years have significantly changed the way we learn/teach music. Private music lessons are attracting more students than ever before. With an overwhelming amount of information at our fingertips, the discipline and focus developed during lessons in the old days can be harder to find.

Here are three tips to help you and your child get the most out of your music lessons.

  1. Slow down and focus

We live in a society that celebrates being “busy”. We’re enticed by shiny new things and it’s tempting to rush from one activity to the next. In the words of Billy Joel “cool off before you burn out”. To really excel at an instrument, you need to set aside time at least a few days per week to focus on practicing. If you practice to simply “get it out of the way and move on” you won’t get as much out of your instrument as someone who is present and invested in what they are doing. Breathe and really enjoy what you are playing.

Less is more, so slow down and focus on one or two songs at a time and really invest time in to mastering them before you move on. Believe it or not, slowing down leads to faster progress!

  • Use Technology to your advantage

Technology is a wonderful beast. It’s either excels us forwards or holds us back with endless distractions. The good news is that you’re in control and you want to make sure you’re using technology to your advantage. Our advice? Download whatever music, backing track or app you need to do your practice, then turn the wi-fi off. This will allow you to use all these wonderful tools while you focus on your practice.

There’s so many helpful music apps available. If you like playing games on your phone or your tablet, why not play a game, such as Tenuto, that helps you to remember your note names and improves your theory. If a song is too fast for you, you can slow it down in an app called iRehearse and gradually speed it back up so you ensure you’re developing solid technique. You can even stream our Total Tonality Every Day Vocal Warm Up’s tracks on Spotify. Technology can really accelerate your learning if you use it wisely!

  • Communicate effectively

The line of communication between parent/student and teacher is essential. Young students rely on their parents to drive them to lessons and recitals, purchase their music books, download the correct apps and so much more. It’s important to invest time into your child’s musical education to make sure they are truly getting the most out of their lessons.

At Downtown Creative Studios we use an online platform called “Trello” to communicate with our students/parents. We assign each student their own board filled with information. All you have to do is press the link we send you and save it to your browser. Each week our diligent teachers update the board with lesson notes, practice tips and homework. If you read these each week you will certainly get the most of your scheduled practice time.

Navigating private music lessons in the modern world can be tricky and overwhelming. However, even with all the new information available to us today, the old principles still hold so much value in our private music lessons. Listen to your teacher, focus on your goals and practice, practice, practice!



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