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7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Music Lessons

These guidelines will help you to have a successful, rewarding experience learning an instrument. These are practical tips that I have discovered from years of experience and teaching.

1. How Young is too Young & Starting at the Right Age – Adults can start learning an instrument at any time. A students success is based on how willing they are committed to practicing. We have beginner students in their 60s and 70s…it’s never too late. For children, starting at the right age is a key element to the success of their lessons. Some people will tell you “the sooner the better” but this attitude can actually backfire and be a negative. If a child is enrolled in lessons too soon they may feel overwhelmed or frustrated and want to stop lessons. The last thing you want to do is turn a child off to music because of an unpleasant experience that could have been prevented. Sometimes if the lessons are put off for a year the children progress at a faster rate. We start children on guitar and piano at age 7. The minimum age for bass guitar is 10 using a “Short Scale Fretboard” bass .
The minimum age for Drum instruction is 10 years of age. A lot of the success depends on the child’s maturity, attention span, height, and  hand size.
As experienced teachers we can help you determine if your child is ready to start lessons or not.

2. Insist on Private Lessons When Learning an Instrument – Group classes work well for preschool music programs, camps and theory lessons. However, when learning an instrument, private lessons are superior since each student can learn at his or her own pace and ask questions. That means the teacher doesn’t have to teach a generalized course that trys to accommodate everyone’s level of skill, but can focus on the individuals strengths and weaknesses.

3. Take Lessons in a Professional Environment – Learning music is not just a matter of having a qualified teacher, but also having an environment that is conducive to learning. In a professional music school or Teaching Studio, a student can’t be distracted by pets, siblings, TVs, ect.
In a music school, the lessons are not a sideline or hobby for the teacher, but a responsible profession which is taken very seriously.

4. Making Practicing Easier – As with anything, improving your playing takes practice. One of the main problems with children’s lessons is the drudgery of practicing and the fight with parents to practice every day. Here are some time tested, proven ways to help your child.

a) Time – A set time every day is a plus as it becomes a part of the daily routine. This works particularly well for children. We recommend that our students practice a minimum of 5 days a week for 30 minutes. We recommend young students breaking up the 30 minute practice to rest the fingers. 15 minute practice take a short break and finish the other 15 minutes.

b) Repetition – With young beginners, a technique that works well is to use repetition instead of a rigid time frame. For example, practice new songs 2 or 3 times each, scales or note reading 2 times each, review each song 1 time, and so on. This way the child doesn’t pay attention to how much time they are practicing, but knows how many more times they have to play something.

c) Rewards – This works well with children as well as adults. In some school they use stars and stickers for a successful performance. We encourage the student at every milestone – Praise tends to be the most coveted reward – there is no substitute for a pat on the back for a job well done.

5. Use Recognized Teaching Materials – We use excellent learning materials available for students of varying levels and styles. Our students learn to read standard notation as well as alternative methods depending on the instrument and type of music that they play. These materials have been researched and are continually upgraded and improved to make learning easier.

6. Choosing the Right Instructor – There are many things to consider when choosing an instructor.

a) Many people choose a teacher based on price, but there are far more serious considerations. While a college student or a part time teacher may charge less, it’s a good idea to determine whether or not he or she is an experienced qualified instructor or someone just trying to make a little extra part time income. Asking for references of current or former students and finding out how long the teacher has been giving lessons are worthwhile matters to consider.

b) There are “Traveling Teachers” who will come to your home and the convenience of not having to drive to lessons can be tempting. The down side to this is whether or not you want a total stranger coming into your house while you have no knowledge of his/her background or teaching reputation. Again, references are a valuable aid in deciding whether this is the right teacher for you or your child.

c) Appearance. While you may have found a good teacher, if the person you choose has tattoos, piercings on their noses and eyebrows, or other similar features, is this the person you want yourself or your child exposed to? While the teacher may be in a band where that type of appearance is welcomed or even a necessity, and he or she may be the nicest person
you’ve ever met, it’s got the possibility of having a negative effect on a child.

d) Professionalism. The main deciding factor should be the degree of professionalism the potential teacher has. Is he going to be available, or does his band travel causing him to repeatedly miss lessons? Is the teaching material geared toward the student and are the
lessons flexible so that the student can make steady progress while still having fun?.

7. Choosing the Right Instrument – Finding the right instrument for yourself or your child can
be a major task. They come in three sizes: Full size,1/2 , & 3/4 size acoustics.
Strings will either be Steel or plastic Nylon.

Children age 5 to 7 use Half size guitars. The First Act acoustic guitars sold at Toys R Us and at Walmart do fine.Children age 7 and 12 use 3/4 size Electric or Acoustic Guitars. Teens & Adults use Full size guitars.The choice of an electric or acoustic instrument is strictly up to ones budget.

Also with an Electric guitar you will have to spend more money in buying an Amplifier. This article is Provided by Musicians Academy  Visit us online for further Information. www.MusiciansAcademy.com  (361)993-3428

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