The Value of “In Person” Music Lessons
There have always been alternatives to music lessons such as: books, cd’s, videos, and now, internet and YouTube offer great resources for music students to learn to play their instruments. Still, there is nothing that can replace having a lesson with a teacher in person. Here are a few benefits from “In Person” music lessons:
Nothing can replicate the relationship one establishes from having music lessons in person. The music teacher can instantly respond to a student. It’s kind of hard to high five a student through a computer screen, or establish a relationship with a YouTube video. Also, if your music teacher lives in the same town with you, they can attend your music events, or other events like even soccer games, etc. I personally strive to have a strong relationship with my students and their families. I pride myself in being a mentor to my students, encouraging them to grow, not only in music, but in academics, sports, and life in general.
I have several Skype guitar lessons that I teach, but the one thing that I miss the most is playing at the same time with my students. When I was young, I remember a specific night jamming with my friend. He played rhythm guitar and I played lead guitar for a Metallica song. We stayed up all night playing and had a blast. There is a special moment that happens when two or more people are in a room together playing parts that compliment each other. I always jam with students who are learning to improvise. I try to use my own energy in the room to inspire them to play, and illustrate dynamics. Playing along with a student also creates a guide for the song they are working on, gently pushing the student to completion and correction. I’ve even noticed guitar students moving, dancing, and mimicking my movements when we are standing and preparing for a showcase. This is a great opportunity to talk about stage presence. This element of music lessons is vital.
Having a local music teacher creates many more opportunities for students to plug in and develop. One of my favorite elements of Freeway Music is the showcases. We pair guitar, drum, bass, voice, and piano students into bands and they perform together. The last several showcases even included violin, saxophone, flute, and banjo students. The showcases always give me chills. It’s so amazing, as a teacher, to watch a student’s confidence grow. The showcases give students purpose, propelling them to practice more. Students forge friendships and band together, sometimes for life. My teacher, Robert Newton, had a local jam session. His guitar students would go sit in and meet some of the best local talent. This helped propel my career so much. I have also had my students come sit in and play with me at my gigs. Just like Robert took me under his wing, I do the same for my students. Our students at Freeway have played on local radio stations, in parades, and at music festivals. We’ve had clinics for tone, songwriting, specific instruments, and much more. Most of the guitar teachers at Freeway are former or current guitar students of mine. Networking and connections go a long way in any business, and your music teacher could be your best resource.
There are many avenues to explore learning outside of your regular lesson to supplement what your are learning. Unfortunately, one can’t replicate the relationship you form, playing together in person, and the opportunities that come from private lessons. My best students do both, and I encourage you to do the same. Good Luck!