If your new to music or a seasoned pro, it can be very difficult to find the best school or instructor that would be a good fit for you or your child. If you want to make sure you don't waste your money and time on your instrument and lessons, only to quit 3 months later when your disinterested, then you should know it might be your learning strategy that needs to change. Here are a 3 successful learning strategies we have learned from our best students.
1. Choose private lessons for one on one encouragement
A private lesson instructor is essential to giving students the tools they need to succeed. If chosen correctly, only a private lesson instructor can tailor to the student’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s also a good way to get specific advice from week to week with the current challenges of practice, songs, and technique. Private lessons should also be a very supportive environment where you can receive reassurance on how well you are doing. Some of the best instructors will challenge you to go farther then you could have ever realized.
Only taking private lessons to learn music, is like having to eat only meat for dinner. Over time every student needs more. In private lessons you are watching your instructor effortlessly play through the songs or use the technique that you have been struggling for a month to learn. Though you try to remember your instructor has been playing longer and paid his or her dues, it is hard not to get discouraged if this is your only learning environment. A "well-balanced meal" for learning music lessons so to speak, requires learning in a supportive group environment with those of similar skill level.
2. Choose a group experience whether it’s a band or learning with others
Learning in a group can be so much fun. It is a good way to also measure how well you are learning and progressing in comparison with the group. If the class is structured right, it should feel like a mini performance every week which can be exhilarating and inspire you to practice even more.
In almost every group there are times where you will feel like the class is either “over your head,” or “going too slow. “ Even if you have a group of students at the same level, some people are going to catch on faster or slower at different times of their learning process. Also the group experience is not made for tailoring to your special needs but to the whole group.
3. Attend jam sessions and any other specialty classes
(ex. Jam Session 101)
Most of us feel uncomfortable in a new setting, especially when your playing music in front of others for the first few times. It’s a vulnerable feeling and some people will avoid it at all costs. However, these types of experiences can change your whole perspective about what you currently think is good music. When your interest in music grows to other genres or styles your love of learning will follow suit.
The combination of these 3 learning strategies will help the complete beginner to the experienced musician have the most success to learning music.
Casey Thomas is the owner of Creative Soul School of Music and has been teaching for over 20 years to complete beginners and professional musicians.