I could also have used the title
"Things every Music Teacher wishes their students would do!"
but I figured that more guitar students would be surfing the web instead of practicing like they should, so I went with the guitar lessons tips title instead :)
As a student, the first thing you should understand is that when you practice and come prepared for your lessons, both you and your instructor will have a great time, during the lesson, playing and learning about music. The lesson time will fly by in an instant. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a student say "times up already? It seems like we just started." During a good lesson.
On the flip side, when you're not prepared, the lessons seems to last FOREVER. The instructor will go over the material again, making sure you understand it, with hopes that you'll be ready by the next lesson.
Make it your goal to be as prepared as possible by the next lesson. I can guarantee you that instructors worth their salt will know the difference between a student that practiced but still struggles with the material versus a student that played Overwatch all week and didn't touch their instrument.
With that said, here are some tips help you get the most out of your lessons.
Keep a notebook or journal in your case and take it to your lesson. After the lesson, summarize your weekly practice home work with your instructor to make sure you understand, and will remember, everything you'll need to do during your weekly practice.
Practice as soon as possible after the lesson
Some students may think "I don't have to practice tonight because my lesson was today". Have you ever heard the saying, "Strike, while the iron is hot"? It means take advantage of an opportunity. In this case, take advantage of your short term memory and everything you worked on and discussed with your instructor during your lesson.
If you take a day or two off from practicing after the lesson, it's possible you'll forget the guidance your instructor provided on the material (like position shifts, playing legato, using shell voicings, etc.).
Commit to practicing every day of the week
Before you say "Duh", hear me out!
As humans, our best intentions are often waylaid by things like life (boss wants me to work overtime all week), school (finals are next week, I have to hit the books hard) and general lameness (I just want to veg on the couch, eat cookies, and watch Adventures of Jojo). In all three examples, I'd be willing to bet dollars to donuts that you had time to practice, you simple made it such a low priority in your mind that you didn't.
There will always be days we would rather go get a root canal instead of practicing. On those days, make yourself practice just 5-10 minutes on a single element. Such as memorizing a scale pattern, working on a fingerpicking pattern, ear training with your instrument, whatever. Simply start and practice for just a few minutes.
You'll find that in most cases, you end up practicing longer than just a few minutes. The starting is the hard part. And in those instances where you stop after a few minutes? Well, you've still had a small step forward in your musical development. Congratulations!
Reach out to your instructor if you are struggling
I tell all my students that if they are struggling during the week or can't remember the specifics on what they should practice (see tip #1 above), that they should text or email their questions to me.
A good instructor would much rather you get back on track and have a good week of practice as compared to not practicing correctly (or at all). Remember, when you're ready for the lesson, the lessons are fun ... and that's what everybody wants!
So check with your instructor to see if they're cool with that. Good instructors should have no problem at all with this. On the other hand, If they tell you no, or that they'll have to charge you extra for guidance outside the lesson, you should start looking for someone else.
Blue Heron Music Studio is located in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Offering Music Lessons, Guitar Lessons, Bass Lessons, and Ukulele lessons.
Call or Email to schedule a free trial lesson.