What’s in a lesson?

What happens at home:

Parent participation and support: Parents have a role to play their child’s lessons. Very young children need assistance with taking notes in lessons and completing the practice assignment at home. As students develop more independence, parents need to ensure that they create a home environment that makes it easy for their child to practice independently. To assist with this, parents as well as students are given specific tasks as part of the lesson practice assignment.

Listening to music: Playing an instrument is so much easier if you begin with a clear concept of what it is supposed to sound like. This applies to both the sound of the instrument and the music being studied. You will be expected to listen to specific recordings at home. This is probably the most important  part of your learning, and will have the biggest effect on your progress. It will also be the thing that requires the most commitment, as you will be expected to do this independently at home and come to the lesson with the music and tone quality of the instrument already in your mind.

What happens in the lesson:

Tone production: Making a beautiful sound on the instrument is the most immediate aspect of communication through music. Every lesson will begin with tonalizations: exercises or repertoire review used to develop a flexible and resonant sound.

Scales, Technique and Music Theory: Every student will learn how to play in every key. Scales, transposition, and recognition of basic chord progressions and modulations are included in every lesson to develop this ability.

Playing by ear and reading music: Music lessons follow the same process that you used when learning to speak your native language – listening first, imitating what you hear, and then reading symbols once you understand what those symbols represent.

Repertoire development: All of these things will be incorporated into learning beautiful pieces of music. As ability develops, pieces learned in the past will be brought forward and reviewed to bring them up to the new level of playing. Instead of learning one piece at a time, you will develop a library of beautiful music that you can access whenever you want.

What happens in the community:

Group lessons: Students need to engage in group playing at a level appropriate to their development, in order to foster ensemble skills and create a vehicle for life long enjoyment of music. Group lessons are a mandatory part of the program in my studio.

Performances: Opportunities to share their music with an appreciative audience are important to students’ sense of accomplishment. Performances of polished review pieces develop confidence. I provide many opportunities to perform throughout the year.

This is what happens when you take music lessons. You need to make the commitment to participate fully in all aspects: at home, in the lesson, and in the community.