My name is Al, co-founder of MusicMaps, a well established and successful music tuition company. As you might imagine I’ve been looking forward to getting my own children music lessons and you might think I know a lot about it. But I had not until this point had a chance to experience what it is like to be the parent rather than the teacher, and, frankly, it’s been a bit of eye-opener. Here are some tips to get the most out of lessons…
Whether at school or at home, lessons will be scheduled in advance. If at home this will usually be at a regular time each week and if at school, a timetable will be put up a week or more in advance for you to check. If a child knows when their lesson is they will be more prepared and get more out of it.
Being ready on the day
Lessons are 30 minutes long of what should be action-packed learning. So being ready to start is an obvious way to get the most out of the time available. This is generally not a natural state for my children. At home this means having your instrument and music ready. At school, this is remembering to bring in your music and instrument and knowing when to go to your lesson.
The premise is straightforward – progress, especially at the early stages, is down to physical and intellectual muscle memory. With that in mind, little and often is the key. Even five minutes every day makes a tremendous difference. It can be hard to find a time but with preplanning and regularity, your child can get on with this independently with no nagging and once your child starts to feel the progress they are making it becomes even easier.
Your Teacher’s Notes
Notes can take many forms – post it notes on the music, written sheets each week, an email to parents or the old fashioned note-book. However they are done, they must be clear and understandable. Sometimes teachers can get a bit carried away with jargon and if neither you or your child understand what they mean, it is not possible to practise effectively. Notes should detail what and how to practise and what will be expected at the next lesson. If they don’t, it is always OK to ask for more detail or to insist they are notes that are easier for your child to follow.
Like learning anything, mastering an instrument takes time and commitment. But it is not just about the person learning – it is a team effort and especially so for younger children. If something doesn’t make sense, you need some tips, or if you are concerned about anything it is absolutely OK to ask – in fact the sooner the better. If you are learning with MusicMaps, your Guide or Mentor, will always be on hand to help. With everybody on the same page, the rest will flow naturally.