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5 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Music Lessons

Music lessons can be a great way to develop your musical skills, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned musician. But to make the most of your music lessons, it's important to have a plan. Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your music lessons:

1. Practice Regularly

Consistent practice is essential to developing your skills and retaining what you've learned during your music lessons. I cannot stress enough how important weekly practice is to your progress. Put simply, if you do not practice consistently and seriously every week, you will probably find that you quickly stop learning and making progress. This is very frustrating and not at all fun. This is true of learning almost any complex skill. Your teacher has an extremely brief time with you every week. Sure, even with very little practice, your teacher can provide a few simple pointers and tweaks that will provide some benefit. But, especially as you progress in skill, most problems require more than a 10 minute fix and a few basic "hacks" to solve. So what amount of time counts as regular practice? A solid goal to work towards is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Obviously everyone is different, and sometimes other demands get in the way. If you're just starting out, a few minutes a day can help you achieve your goals. 15 minutes a day for 5 days is better than 2, 30 minute sessions in my opinion. But pretty soon, 15 minutes a day will no longer suffice, and you'll need the longer, focused length of time that 30 minutes or more provides to really make progress on tough techniques and pieces. If you want to enjoy music lessons and actually learn to play your chosen instrument, set aside time each day to practice.

2. Set Specific Goals

Having specific goals can help you stay focused and motivated during your music lessons. It is important to note that, while having specific goals is an important part of learning music, you should be prepared to revise and adapt goals as you learn and grow. For example, maybe a student comes into their first lesson and says their goal is to learn chords so they can play songs for their friends. This is a fine goal. But if their teacher is knowledgeable, they will probably work with the student on some things that seem unrelated to this goal. Things like counting out loud, learning to read music, basic music theory, attention to dynamics, technique exercises like scales and arpeggios, and a constant eye on posture and the physical mechanics of playing the instrument are important to achieving any level of proficiency beyond awkward sounding, uncoordinated strumming of basic chords. And even if the student is 100% positive that they have no interest in anything besides chords, a lot of those other things will make them much better and more confident at strumming chords around the campfire. This is not to say that you need to do all of the above at once, or all of them when you are just starting out. If you are sure that chords are your major goal, then chords should be a main focus. But be open to suggestions from your teacher that might slightly modify the way you work towards your goal, even if they seem unrelated. Discuss your goals with your teacher so they can tailor the lessons to your needs.

3. Be Engaged During Lessons

Actively participate in your music lessons by asking questions, taking notes, and trying out new techniques and exercises. Your teacher is there to help you improve, so make the most of their expertise. I suggest bringing a notebook every week for your teacher to write in, and using this to guide your practice. Try not to fool around or make noise on the instrument when your teacher is talking, and try to bring something to your lessons every week whether it is a relevant question about practicing or a musical idea that you want to explore.

4. Listen to Music Outside of Lessons

Listening to music outside of your music lessons is a great way to develop your musical ear and broaden your understanding of different genres and styles. Make a habit of listening to music every day and pay attention to the different musical elements. Even if you are not taking voice lessons, singing along to the radio or spotify is a great way to train your ear, and trying to figure out how to play a song you heard can help you develop a deeper understanding of your instrument (just don't spend too much of your practice time doing this instead of your assigned work :)

5. Have Fun!

Music lessons should be challenging, but they should also be fun! Teachers should give you at least some choice in what pieces you play, so choose music that you enjoy playing and don't be afraid to experiment with different styles and techniques.

In conclusion, following these 5 tips can help you get the most out of your music lessons. By practicing regularly, setting specific goals, actively engaging in your lessons, listening to music outside of lessons, and having fun, you'll be on your way to becoming a skilled and confident musician. If you are interested in seeing if music lessons are for you, contact us at Northwest Music Academy for a free trial lesson.


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