One of my best high school students asked if she could switch to another teacher, known for being popular with her students. Swallowing my disappointment, I replied "Sure." The student returned after a few lessons, complaining that she didn't like the other teacher.
"Why?" I asked.
"She wasn't tough like you," she explained. "She laughed a lot and told me that everything was fine when I KNEW that there were parts that weren't good. When you're being tough, it means that you know I can do it. It's really a compliment."
A typical lesson
All lessons begin with a thorough warm-up consisting of long tones and short melodic patterns, followed by scales. Then we work on technical studies and repertoire. We usually conclude the lesson with sight-reading or duets.
I work with all students to set up a regular practice routine that takes into account the student's schedule, abilities, musical goals, and ease of maintenance.
How long should the lesson last?
For most beginners, particularly under the age of 11, a half-hour lesson is fine. Once students reach middle school or junior high school, the length of the lesson depends on how serious they are about their playing. If they want audition for the region bands or youth orchestras, we really need a full hour. For high school students, a full hour lesson is recommended so that we can work on ensemble music and audition material, as well as their lesson assignments.
Do you teach group lessons?
I prefer not to teach group lessons. It has been my experience that even with just two students in the lesson, inevitably one grasps a specific skill or concept faster than another. That can be so frustrating for the other student. Some of my best students have been slow starters!
If you are seeking group lessons for your student for financial reasons, contact me. We'll see what can be arranged.
A word about lessons for beginners
I fully understand why parents say "We'll let our daughter take the beginning band class for a year. If she likes it, then she can take lessons." I get it! Family budgets are stretched.
Even a few private lessons can make a significant difference. Students learn how to hold the instrument and to produce the sound correctly. Beginning with a good foundation, young students progress so much faster on their instruments. They have much more fun playing and are more likely to continue with their instruments.
Consider a few lessons for your beginning flute or oboe student. It's money well spent!
"Joyce is not only expert in all the best ways to teach the playing of the instrument, she knows the ins and outs of oboe mechanics and reed-making so she can tailor lessons from beginner to professional players. Her enthusiasm is infectious, as is her knowledge and expertise of the oboe repertoire, both solo, orchestral, and chamber music. She is excellent with all ages and has a special rapport with the sometimes challenging ages of 10-to-16-year olds." — Jane L.