Lesson Policies and Requirements
Learning to play an instrument and becoming a musician can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. Learning how to improve at a task, or accomplishing something that you once thought was challenging can have life long benefits. All musicians face frustration time to time while trying to improve. Those that stick to it and keep working through the frustrations and set back’s, improve not only as musicians, but learn how to deal with any life situation.
Regular and efficient practice is the only way for students to improve. In most cases a students progress is related directly to the amount of time a student spends practicing. Playing an instrument is demanding and requires consistent and disciplined practice time to improve. I recommend that all students practice every day. Every students practice time will differ. Beginners should practice from 15 to 20 minutes a day. As they build endurance and knowledge, the time spent practicing will increase. It is not unusual for a professional to put in several hours each day. Also remember, it is better to practice a little everyday than cram it all in the night before a lesson or performance. There are several efficient ways to practice that will allow you to make the most of the time available to you. Remember, you will get out of it what you put into it. The harder you work, the more rewarding your experience will be.
Parents: help your child out by scheduling a regular practice time and keep them on track. Support at home makes an enormous difference. Encourage your child to perform what they are working on for you on a regular basis. This shows your support, and helps give your child the confidence to play for people.
Some key areas that I will work on in lessons include:
Air– Air is crucial for wind instruments, how much you use and how to use it.
Tone– How pure is the sound.
Embouchure– This refers to how the face and lips are positioned while playing.
Musicality– This is how you take the music and put expression into it.
Equipment and materials
All students need a notebook for us to keep track of progress and assign tasks. This needs to be with them all the time. One that will fit in the instrument case or book bag will be fine. Your child’s instrument needs to be in good working condition. For brass players Valve oil and Slide grease are ESSENTIAL Every few months brass instruments should be cleaned. At least once a year you should have it professionally cleaned. In the meantime, you can use room temperature water (never hot! It can ruin the lacquer) and dish soap, with a wash cloth and an instrument cleaning snake. A metronome and a tuner are important to the progress of all musicians. They come as separate units or as a combination. These come in all shapes sizes and prices. If you get one before the other I recommend getting the metronome. Having a music stand at home will help encourage good practice habits. Method books and other music will be assigned as needed. Any other music that might be “fun” to play, i.e. “Star Wars”, “Harry Potter”, or any popular songs. When students have fun playing, they are more likely to spend time practicing.
Lessons need to be paid for before each lesson. You may pay each week or monthly. In the past I have found that paying monthly is easier, but either is fine. You may pay with cash or a check made out to me. If a check is returned there will be a return check charge. If I miss a lesson for any reason, the lesson will be made up, or credited to the next month for prepaid lessons. If a student misses a lesson with no notification, you will still be charged for my time. If you give me notice, at least 24 hours in advance, of a known absence, a make up will be scheduled. If your child does not attend school due to sickness, or other extenuating circumstances, there will be a reasonable effort to reschedule.