One of the most popular activities for children and even many adults is music lessons. More people than ever are taking guitar, drums, piano and voice lessons, as well as other instruments such as banjo, bagpipes and saxophone. Most students go to a studio for a 30 to 60 minute lessons each week. There are also programs such as online voice lessons for individuals who cannot go to a studio or want a more budget friendly approach to learning an instrument.
However, just showing up for a lesson once a week is not really going to help the student make progress and master their instrument. There are several things that a student can do to make sure they get the most from their music lessons and the money they spend. Here are a few tips for ensuring that money spent on music lessons is well spent.
Get Motivated and Keep a Positive Attitude
It is important to keep a positive attitude and remain motivated throughout the week. Many students take a lesson and then set it aside for several days. The day before or even the day of their lesson suddenly motivates then to practice.
One way to remain motivated is to remember why you are taking lessons and practicing. This is something you enjoy doing and you probably have a goal of getting to a certain level of proficiency. Keep in mind what achieving that goal will mean to you and you are more likely to be motivated every day.
Schedule Your Practice Time Every Day
Just like your lesson times are scheduled (usually once a week for 30 to 60 minutes), you may find it helpful to schedule your practice times each day. Many say “I’ll fit it in when I have time”. But on many days they do not find the time. Scheduling practice time, even if it is just 15 minutes, will help keep it at the forefront of your mind and prevent procrastination. This technique also elevates the importance of your music studies relative to other interests, hobbies and entertainment endeavours. If you are taking the time and spending the money to take lessons then it must be important to you. Including it in your daily routine reinforces that importance.
Use Your Practice Time Wisely
Of course, practice time must be used wisely to make it useful. Most music instructors will give assignments and provide direction for the student when practicing on their own. This may include specific exercises, drills, scales or even songs. In addition, students should take initiative and learn songs that they like. The internet provides chords, ‘tab’ charts, lyrics and even music for countless songs. While it is important to follow the lesson plans of the teacher, it is also productive to spend some time on topics that are interesting to the student. This helps extend practice time and keep the student motivated.
Have a Good Practice Area
In addition to scheduling practice time and using that time wisely, students should have a designated practice area. It is important to have a space that is comfortable, quiet, conducive to learning and maybe even acoustically compatible with the instrument. For example, drums are best practiced in a room with a lot of soft furnishings, wall hangings and floor coverings. This helps absorb the sound making it easier for the student to hear what they are playing, and also helps reduce the noise for others in the home. Conversely, singers may prefer a room with harder surfaces that allow the sound to bounce, thus providing more resonance and a better sound.
Music lessons can be a valuable tool for pursuing your interest in music. However, they can also be a complete waste of money. It is up to you to ensure that you spend your money wisely and ultimately meet your goals. Following these tips will help you accomplish both of these objectives.
Investing in education for your children or yourself can be a significant part of the family budget, so these decisions should be made carefully and the value received from any money spent should be significant.