Meri’s Musical Musings

Getting the most out of music lessons

Posted on: May 20, 2013

Attend and participate in studio recitals.

Participate in exams.

For orchestral instruments, audition for and participate in special ensembles outside of school which your odds of being accepted are very good or excellent. There are quite a few even for relative beginners, especially for those in the band.

Learn and apply your music theory.

Learn your technical elements (scales, chords, arpeggios, etc.) well enough to at least 4 sharps and 4 flats, major and minor.

Practice 5-6 days a week with good practice techniques for at least 45 min a day, at least 60 to 90 min if you are past the mid-intermediate level. Parents, bribe your kids to do it if you need to, tying in part of their allowance, earning TV, video game, or computer time for practicing, allowing them to getting out of a chore they dislike if they practice.

Ask questions related to playing technique or the music on things you don’t understand, sometimes a quick message or phone call can save you a lot of trouble.

Participate in competitions if your teacher recommends you for them.

Find out the names of the great artists on the instruments you study, and listen to them perform, with online videos and recordings.

Discover the major solo and chamber works for your instrument, and listen to them frequently.

Register for music camps that are offered by school boards and sometimes by churches that the student qualifies for. If funds are limited, you can often get a bursary and there are even a few camps that are free for anyone.

Attend concerts by professional ensembles, especially chamber ensembles.

Seek additional performance opportunities within and outside of school, and/or ask your teacher, eg: my husband and I have our top students perform for services at least a couple times a year.

Do research on the history of the instrument, periods of music history, composers, and works they have written that include or feature the instrument you are studying.

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  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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