Your investment in music lessons can be one of the greatest you ever make for your student. Taking the time to foster creativity and imagination is extremely rewarding and pays dividends over a lifetime.
Learning music teaches your student valuable skills such as discipline, patience and perseverance. Research has also shown that engaging the creative right brain can improve attention, memory and comprehension.
In addition, many people notice improved social skills and a growing sense of confidence as their ability to perform increases. Music gives one a voice for one’s own ideas and a creative outlet in which to express oneself!
As a mentor and the new Music Program Coordinator here at ROOTS, I wanted to share some very practical ways I’ve seen that students get the biggest return on investment with music lessons.
Share these tips with your student, and ask him or her for feedback about ways they can begin to practically apply these during the week:
1. Come Prepared
When I was younger, I had an amazing piano teacher who repeatedly told me, “your lessons are not the place for practice!” I could easily learn notes at home, so why would I waste valuable lesson time re-hashing things that I could have done in between lessons?
Coming prepared makes a world of difference. I encourage my students to learn what they can at home so that we can spend lessons working on things that take a lot of direction, such as honing skill and developing technique (I firmly believe that great technique sets an average musician and a great one apart!) Not only will you see more progress, but you will begin to enjoy your lessons even more as your ability to play increases at a much faster rate.
2. Listen to Music
Spend some time each week intentionally listening to music. I love that no matter how much music I listen to, there is always more to be discovered. Listening to a variety of different music is great for developing your ear and finding new material to learn.
Be open minded — listen to a wide variety of genres. You can learn something from everything you listen to (even if it’s what you don’t like!). Ask yourself questions about what you are listening to.
- Why do you like it/not like it?
- What instrumentation do you hear?
- Are there any interesting rhythms?
You might find something new to learn. That brings us to our next point…
3. Bring Ideas
Mentors love hearing the music you are interested in. We also enjoy when you bring ideas to your lessons! Maybe you heard a song you would love to learn. Maybe you want to try a different style of music. Maybe you just discovered a new band or song and you want to share it with someone! Whatever it is, bring your ideas along to your lesson—your mentors love to talk about these things with you.
4. Deal with Problem Areas
Here at ROOTS we are all about championing you. We want to make sure you have the best possible experience while studying at our academy. Your music mentors would love to help you in any way possible with your musical journey. Want to try something different? Struggling with a particular aspect of your instrument? Talk to us. Let us know what’s going on. We can work through it together. We are always willing to listen to your feedback!
5. Stay the Course
As with anything, sticking it out for the long haul inevitably gives you the greatest return when it comes to progress. Consistency in both lessons and practice is key to improvement. Think of studying music like preparing for a marathon; you can’t dip your toes in and out of training and eat whatever you please (unfortunately) if you hope to be in shape for your big race.
In the same way, it is extremely difficult to learn music in fits and bursts with no real discipline. Learning music is easiest when done gradually—regular lessons, regular practice.
It’s actually better to have shorter (but regular) practice sessions than few longer ones. The more consistent your practice, the more your “muscle memory” engages, making the work you put in more effective. The sheer force of consistency over time will give you staggering results.
6. Have Fun!
Learning anything well is going to take a bit of work, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be enjoyable! Focus on what you love about music and what got you interested in it in the first place. It will keep you energized and passionate about studying towards your musical goals. Don’t forget to spend time playing the music you love!