Private Music Lesson – Understanding The DNA

“You can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat!”

Music Lesson DNA
Music Lesson DNA

The order of events in a private music lesson can be crucial to the student’s enjoyment of the lesson.  The article outlines the basic structure of a private music lesson. As music teachers want to create a lesson plan in such a way that is both informative and engaging. Consistency is key but at the same time, it’s always nice to switch things up every once in a while.

1. Warming Up

Warming up is a very important aspect of the lesson and is usually placed first in any well-developed lesson plan.  Playing music can be very physical, often using unique muscles that we don’t normally use in our day to day activities.  Just as it is important to warm up before exercising, it is important to warm up our musical muscles as well.  It is also great for morale to pick an easy exercise to start that they can feel good about performing well.  This warms up their muscles and boosts their confidence.

2. Technique exercises/games

After the warm-up, I like to get into some technique and theory training.  These can often be a little stale, which is why I like to incorporate some quick and easy games into it.  For theory training, I like to make flash cards and have rewards prepared such as stickers.  This makes learning theory fun for the student and often times, they look forward to this part of the lesson.  This is a great time to run scales, work on coordination, etc.

3. Working on a song

At this point in the lesson, I like to work on a song.  Learning songs is one of the best ways to teach students about music.  Students will look forward to this portion of the lesson, which is why I like wait until later in the lesson to work on it.  Songs are what students enjoy practicing the most so it’s always a great idea to incorporate songs into the lesson plan.  Every week, we learn a little more of the song, and it gets a little better.

4. Play time

I love saving the last couple of minutes of any lesson for creating and exploring the instrument without the confines of a song or exercise.  This allows the students creativity to flourish and can be the most fun part of any lesson.  I like to play the instrument with the student in a free format and let whatever idea they may have come out and be heard.  Doing this at the very end of the lesson ensures that they leave the lesson feeling great and hopefully wanting to practice even more.

One out of five – Private Music Lesson

This is my typical structure for my music lessons.  I use this form about four out of every five lessons.  I do like to change this up sometimes and switch the order around a little.  This breaks up the monotony and leaves the student excited about the possibility that every lesson can be a little different an special.  And it should be!  The most important thing to do is focus on what the student needs on that particular day and be able to change things accordingly.  Having a plan is necessary.  Breaking that plan when it needs to be broken is what makes private music lessons special.

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