In my mind, a lesson is always an opportunity. When I walk into a student’s home to conduct private music lessons in Houston, that’s what I think. It’s just as much an opportunity for me as it is for the student. I, like many musicians, am my own worst critic. I constantly wonder if I could be doing more or better with a student, or if I could be approaching a challenging situation in a more effective way.
Will this lesson uncover some new method for me to be a better private saxophone teacher, or will this student teach me the deepest meaning of patience? For the student, it’s always a chance for them to take a leap to the next level. They can break down a new wall, without realizing it. Sometimes what seems like the easiest thing can be a major road block for a student and then there are times when I’m anticipating them to have a lot of trouble grasping a new rhythm or concept and they amaze me. Taking in home saxophone lessons gives an ideal environment for learning and possibility.
The First Note
When a student plays the first note of a lesson, I naturally go into evaluation mode. We evaluate our students from the first note and we try not to interrupt, because the first second of music often contains a million “solutions” for the teacher and it’s tempting to jump in right away. I always find that I have to hold myself back, keeping the analysis from coming out of my mouth before the student is done playing. I don’t want to break their spirit before they are even done with a single song! So I wait, and I congratulate them on their achievement, but then, the evaluation has to come out. I always try and find something nice to focus on; it’s so easy to see all the problems with someone’s playing, but it takes a lot of patience and skill to see the good.
If I was volunteering my time, I’d probably spend a little more time hearing every detail about gymnastics camp or what they did on their play date. But since parents are paying for this 60 minutes of instruction, we feel that we need to be productive for every one of those minutes (at least I feel that way). Productive to me often means doing something. Actively fixing a problem. Critiquing. That’s a little extreme, though. An hour of critique is not necessary, especially for a young student. Many times the best thing for the student to do is perform what they’ve practiced for someone who understands it. It’s fun to play for your mom but she ALWAYS thinks it sounds good. When a student performs for their teacher, it’s a whole different vibe and the teacher has the power to turn that vibe from scary and nerve wracking to encouraging and fun!
As a teacher, I think it’s easy to see your own challenges and get tunnel vision when it comes to other people’s challenges. This is true to students too. We think it’s so hard to say the right thing, or promote the right techniques that we sometimes forget to remember how hard it is to be a kid. It’s a confusing time in anybody’s life. A young person’s ego is like an egg: only strong on the surface. I think they need a boost, and Saxophone teachers in home are in a place to give that boost. I know that when I was in high school, struggling with all the things a person struggles with in high school-parents, social life, growing up- I thought music was one thing I could rely on to make me feel good every time. What an opportunity it is to be able to instill that excitement in a student. So I try to keep the energy positive, and open that door so that a student can find that enjoyment themselves. It can’t be taught, but we can nudge them in the right direction.
Saxophone teachers in home have a great opportunity to open up the world of music for a student. It does take subtly though. In my personal education, my best teachers have always been people who could show me new things when I didn’t even realize I was learning. Those were the best moments, and the ones I remember now. I hope I can make a lasting impact like that on my students! Contact us today to learn more about in home music lessons.