AN ADVENTURE BEGINS!
Playing an instrument provides avenues of expression often unavailable in everyday life. The instruments I teach are technical in nature and so anybody can learn them, if they make good use of practice time and play S-L-O-W-L-Y at first. You can save hundreds in lesson fees by following this advice!
II encourage students to bring their own musical ideas with them, either self-penned or by others. I can't teach purely to song targets nor grade exam pieces since neither provides the comprehensive education which musicians need in order to really communicate with their instrument.
I encourage my students to perform as much as possible. This may be during assemblies, end-of-term school concerts, local theatre shows, music festivals or at my student concerts (which I try to host every half term).
PARENTS CAN COME & LEARN TOO!
I believe that there is a very strong correlation between parental support and a student's success at playing an instrument. I encourage parents to sit in on lessons, though this must be prearranged.
I also hold free teaching sit-in sessions for parents in order for them to know what their children are, or should be, getting up to! - most parents understand the basics right away. I'll blog the next one, but it will be probably tie in with the next student concert.
In addition, reports are issued twice a year for private students.
The first lesson is free!
£10m public liability insurance provided by the Incorporated Society of Musicians
Available upon request.
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EXAMS OR NOT?
It's entirely up to the student, parents and me to decide that.
Not all students benefit from exams and many of the most motivated don't need them, but they often are amazingly good at speeding up progress. I doubt I would have been at grade VIII standard at age fourteen if it weren't for taking them!
TO READ OR NOT TO READ?!
I've had the privilege of playing with amazing musicians, some of which can't read a note and some that wouldn't dream of playing without sheet music.
The debate is very well covered elsewhere, but as a default I recommend both learning to read and playing "by ear". This is something that is usually agreed between student, parent and teacher.
I stipulate a six-week notice period on giving up lessons once we're underway. There's more leeway in the first month whilst a student's finding out if lessons are right for them.
Learning an instrument is a pretty long process and six weeks gives us time to explore new approaches or strategies. Simultaneously, the notice period means that parents and students are encouraged to be open with me about reasons for stopping. It seems to me that people often stop due to self-confidence, motivation, vision and time demands.
(Instrument lessons are often a child's first experience of self-guided work since I can only point someone in the right direction and hope they're excited enough to play as much as possible so they become proud of their work. Parental support is almost always vital during practice - not necessarily sitting in on practice but motivating and arranging regular times of day in order to create the habit. I can advise!)