Private Lessons February 2013 update
Private lessons give students regular experience playing with and learning from professional musicians. Learning from "someone who makes music a living and lives from music" is very different from downloading internet tabs, jamming with machines and working things out without support from a coach. These are valid ways to learn and improve musicianship but aren't a replacement for interactive live play situations with experienced musicians, and of course a program of instruction that covers a full complement of the skills of music systematically.
Individual instruction is $30 per half hour lesson. This time is generally sufficient to review past assignments and set new ones. Successful students always do something at home between lessons on most days. As a general guide, 30 minutes of focused daily practice can go a long way to being a competent musician.
If you are a parent considering lessons for your kids, clarify your expectations regarding practice. It's not unusual for kids to do sports and parents won't tell them to practise every day, but somehow, music is viewed differently. My guess is it's all about the money. Fair enough, if you spend your money, you expect some results.
At home it is helpful to provide an environment and guidelines that support skill-building and constructive hobbies.
This will include:
1.Make a good practice space with suitable seating, lighting and a certain amount of privacy so that nobody gets annoyed at the repetition and noise. A well-moderated climate is particularly important for string instruments, which lose tuning if the temperature fluctuates wildly.
2.Always have the instrument ready if that's possible. Leave it on a stand with music on the music-stand ready to go. That means practices can be short and frequent or longer but aren't going to involve timewasting unpack, set-up and pack-up every time.
3. Minimise and limit distractions such as TV, toys and computer. This means making a schedule and ensuring it is stuck to. Routines are critical to regular practice and if there are no rules about T.V.phones etc time is sucked into the vortex of eternal waste.
4. Don't overload kids with too many tasks. A drive to succeed pushes some parents to enlist their kids in so many activities that they get stressed. A kid doing sport 3 times a week, math coaching and some other activity as well as homework is busy and unlikely to find time to be successful in any further activity. Music integrates well with computer,reading,science, social skills and confidence building, benefits too numerous to mention. Better to replace 2 or 3 ordinary activities with one great one I suggest.
5. Discuss from time to time what you might expect your kid to do in a week so that it is clear there is some agreement or rule to follow.
6. Patience and enthusiasm are important. Depth of skills take a long time to develop. The drive to "level up" often destroys the urge to try. Completing someone else's list ignores personal choice and undermines the value of a hobby. Remember, kids were not born just to please us. However, teach them about the value of work and an appreciation of what they have. You don't want to be micro-managed and neither does your kid. There is skill in parenting that balances the child's drives with the parental aspirations. It's not easy to help kids set and complete goals and continue through the ebb and flow of motivation.
When your child reaches a level, let them enjoy success at this level before moving the goal posts.
FEES and MY POLICY
It's not my policy to bully students into practising. I simply aim to give students a musical experience regardless of their level and give guidance in setting realistic targets. It is up to the student (or their fee-paying parents) to decide how much practice is enough.
I do have conversations with kids who clearly don't practice as to how their parents might better use that money. Parents usually know if their kids are practising. As for adults, I'm happy if students come along and simply enjoy what is to be enjoyed.
I work to a 4 lesson commitment and at the end of a set of lessons, students who wish to continue learning pay their fees at the fourth week. A spot cannot be held for a student if it has not been paid for.
If you miss a lesson time I cannot guarantee make-up lessons or refund as that time is lost and can never be recovered. I try very hard to keep my promises and in this way you won't turn up for a lesson and find I am not there. Fair people will appreciate this is the way it must be.
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN ?
I choose a program to suit the individual needs of the student, blending related theory when it is useful with the practical arts of playing.
Note-reading is encouraged and for those who are inclined, it is possible to sit external Trinity College Of London Exams. Many students don't read music to the level of following a score and though it is my view that it is preferable, for those that can't manage the time to master a useful level of reading, I have many resources that are not focused on learning to follow a score. All my students read charts and can follow a song arrangement with chords, a timesignature and understand the parts of a song.
A typical lesson could contain:- a review of some previous lesson points, some note reading, popular songs for chords and singing, an exercise for physical development, improvising from a rule plus something for fun & interest like a cool riff.
I use parts of the Trinity Program from London which has a wide balance of contemporary, folk & classic pieces for reading skills, includes sight reading, scales, technical development and viva voce.
I also use components of the Australian Music Examinations Board's Contemporary Popular Music program. (CPM)
I teach accompaniment for the voice, music technology, including hard disc and computer recording, midi-based recording and editing, programming and use of FX, PAs, amplifiers and improvisation skills. As I have other instruments here, knowledge of keyboard, banjo, mandolin, violin, harmonica, recorder and drums may be shared as appropriate.
Often enough my students will record an audio or video project to send to friends and family.
Group lessons are often run for economy or profit, not effective teaching and learning. I'm a firm believer that private lessons are a superior way to learn music.
However, I will and do lead groups. Some individuals within groups do very well in this environment & may prefer the social context that a group lesson can offer. They may also like to form and work as a band. Within groups there can be many teachers (student leaders) and they benefit from the social skills and articulating & demonstrating their skills when they help each other. There are literacy gains and physical dexterity skills that will have positive impacts upon their other studies.
I am running a program this year in a local Primary School for 2 morning sessions a week with a large group of primary age students (around 25). If you think your school might benefit from such a program, please contact me for more information.
Call to discuss your requirements here.
Please e mail, text or call for your appointment. 0422 056 671 Surfers or Bonogin
You have been listening to a mix of Steve Zirkler's guitar compositions. Hope you enjoyed it!
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