One-on-one teaching is the most efficient way to help students excel. Here are 7 benefits of private lessons to share with students and their parents.
Click here for a PDF of a slightly abridged version of this article you can hand out directly to your students.
1. Private lesson teachers model a professional sound on their instrument. If the only sounds students hear are the kids sitting next to them in band, they don’t have the right kind of sound to aspire to. How do babies learn to talk? By listening to people talk. How do instrumentalists learn to play with a characteristic sound? By hearing a characteristic sound.
2. Students are able to perform by themselves weekly and get concentrated feedback. In band it is rare for students to perform by themselves and if they do, feedback us usually limited to 10-15 seconds. Performing weekly for a teacher helps them become a more confident and independent player. They also have more time to give feedback, try again and continue to work on a problem until it improves because it is an individual setting.
3. Students are able to focus on supplemental exercises written specifically for their instrument. Band class just doesn’t allow for the development of lip slurs, register studies, octave slurs etc. in a way that private lessons can. These fundamentals are crucial for later development and more advanced playing ability.
4. Method books written just for their instrument are far superior to band music for developing well-rounded players. Method books, because of their methodical nature, do a much more complete job of covering full range, key signatures, rhythms, duets, alternate fingerings and styles than the curriculum in band class allows. Band music is great for many things, but method books are key to becoming a truly accomplished musician.
5. Region/district band auditions can be approached on an individual level. Teachers can meet a child where they are to begin the region band music and help them develop an individual game plan to prepare them for the audition. This helps students learn how to set goals – long term and weekly goals.
6. Instructors give students a chance to play a unique solo that they love at solo contest. Often, due to the number of students, band directors must choose a “class” or “section” solo that may not be a good fit for each student. Lesson teachers, experts on solos for their instruments, are able to offer students a number of solos that are ideal for their development level. They can also choose solos that work on goals for that student such as focusing on objectives such as extending range, improving articulation, or extreme key signatures. Giving students more options means they are more likely to find a solo that personality and that they enjoy playing.
7. Private lesson teachers provide a role model for students that can be a strong motivation for students to continue in band and excel on an individual level. While students move through different classes, grade levels and schools, it is possible they would have the same lesson teacher for 7 or more years. Lesson teachers often know how well a student plays better than anyone else and have a long term plan for their development. Private teachers can guide a student all the way from the first sounds in beginner band through a professional level solo as a senior in high school and know how to get them from one point to the next.
Tamarie Sayger has taught private clarinet lessons for 14 years and enjoys teaching students from beginner level through high school. When she’s not teaching clarinets the difference between B flat and B natural, she is blessed to spend time with her husband, BJ, and their two children.
See our second post in this series “Don’t Have a Private Lesson Program? 11 Ideas for You!”
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