Most people get into music lessons to learn something they desire to know, whether that’s a song or a particular technique.
In order to accomplish their goals, students have to make the most of each and every music lesson they take. Here are some tips on how to get more out of every session.
If you have the desire to learn something from each of your music lessons, you need to get in the habit of listening to your teacher. They can teach you many things, but only at the pace you are willing or able to go at.
Also keep in mind that music always involves active listening. Having a good ear enables you to learn by ear and mentally “hear” holes in the music that you can easily slip into. A failure to listen could lead to some costly mistakes; especially in situations where you are jamming or playing with other musicians. Strive to become a better listener, because this is what you require to develop into a true musician.
Let your teacher know what you hope to accomplish, and put it in the most definite terms possible. Don’t use words like “maybe”, “one day”, “I hope”, “I wish”, and so on. Instead say, “_____ is what I intend to accomplish by _____.”
Your determination and directness will be appreciated by your instructor. Even if you miss your goal, you will at least come a lot closer to achieving it than if you hadn’t done the legwork of deciding on what you wanted to work towards.
Your goals should be specific, and they should also be written down. Also see previous point about communicating your goals to your teacher.
If you want to retain what you’ve learned in every lesson, you also have to take some time to review your material; preferably within 24 hours of first being exposed to it. This will require some planning, but if you have a consistent daily practice schedule, it should prove pretty straightforward.
Also keep in mind that you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to review. You can spend the first 10 to 15 minutes of your practice session reviewing, and that should be sufficient to reinforce the material in your mind.
Take some time to really reflect and think about what you learned from your last music lesson. Then, think about the bigger picture. Learning a single concept doesn’t really help you if you can’t apply it. Everything you learn is interconnected somehow. You have to start connecting the dots on your own.
A good student also knows when to supplement their learning with additional material. You should prioritize what your teacher gave you to work on, but if you develop a comfort level with it, it’s a wise idea to intentionally find more things to practice before your next lesson.
Developing as a musician is an ongoing task, and not a one-time event. You can’t practice once and expect to see massive results. By remaining consistent, you can grow as an instrumentalist incrementally. The results, however, will come later.
Remain diligent in your active listening, communication, goal-setting, reviewing and studying. If you keep your hand to the plow, you will reap the rewards that these efforts will enable you to harvest.