I'm frequently questioned by parents if our Accelerated Lesson Program can compete with traditional private music instruction. The deeply imbedded natural assumption seems to be that a one-to-0ne style lesson will provide the highest quality instruction, and yield the greatest results, while also helping the student with any attention or confidence deficits.
Our lessons at The Music Studio are quite different from the private lessons typically offered through music stores and home-based teachers. However, having taught privately (the one-on-one type lessons) for 25 years, and seeing the extremely poor survival rate of students who study that way....I made a change in lesson structure that would ensure success, and have been teaching in this improved format for the past 10 years! Our lessons allow each student to progress individually within a small group setting -- and, what students will experience at a complimentary tryout is almost exactly how a regular lesson would go. A seasoned class moves very energetically, and will typically have 4 to 6 students!
Although I often describe our lesson format as being different from "traditional" lessons, our actual teaching method is traditional/classical - where students learn to read music and rhythm (not by ear), and are guided chronologically through classical music theory. All our instructors and assistants are also classically trained musicians. So, the "what" in our teaching does remain true to traditional western music.
Students continue playing the entire session, and may "pass" a song as soon as they are able to play it correctly and fluidly. This knocks out the difficult part of practicing before they leave the lesson, and lets them move at their most comfortable pace (their pace or progress is never held back by the other students).
The biggest benefit to this format is the sightreading -- the ability to play through a brand new song almost perfectly, without prior practice. We cover A LOT of music in a 60-minute session, so by the end, they've read through and mastered 10 to 15 songs. The high sightreading skills lead to independent learning and a big spike in confidence. During tryout lessons, I enjoy noticing somewhat timid students become rapidly comfortable with looking at the next new song without me providing too much instruction on how to start or what to look for (this is fabulous, as music is written to provide the performer with all the answers/secrets, so when students get to the point where they start to seek solutions within their music -- a musician is born!).
We have fun with it...the students love to keep me hopping from piano to piano as fast as they can learn a song :). And, usually, at the end of the lesson (as long as we've accomplished a lot of playing), we'll take a little break and sneak in some theory, ear training, or try some ensemble or percussion playing together.
Our students fly through lesson books...by comparison to 20 or so years ago, their progress rate has doubled or tripled, and on average they continue with lessons well beyond their method books. Our students continue playing as adults, major in and have careers in music, receive college and local scholarships, and win competitions (we've had three winners play at Carnegie Hall in NYC). It's not required for students to pursue serious performing, and we do non-competitive performance events, too....but it's there if they aspire in that direction! And, this program can certainly get them there, if they want it.
Although I'm a survivor of private lessons, and a 25-year veteran teacher of the "old school" one-to-one lessons...I'll never go back! The failure rate and student turnover are ridiculously high, and leave students with unpleasant memories of music and lessons.
Instead, I choose to provide a lesson program that reinforces sight-reading, independent learning, and rapid progress...and produce student musicians who have the confidence to reach beyond what I can personally show them.
Thanks for reading!
Experience our program for yourself....we'd love to have you visit our studio and sample a lesson, free of charge!
Should You Enroll Your Child in Private Piano Lessons? Only if you want them to quit.
The more personal one-to-one attention from the teacher, the more successful the music lessons, right? Private piano lessons have been the tradition and gold standard for centuries, but we’d like to explore why it’s not the best instructional format for the majority of students, and is almost certainly finite.
In my 35 years of teaching (25 of those years as a “private” one-to-one type teacher), I can honestly state that the majority of my private students had no complaints about the time spent in lessons – because they didn’t have to do anything! They could arrive at their lesson, explain how busy they’d been all week and couldn’t practice, and then ask me to provide something “new” to fill the time. All of them had become deficient sight readers, so anything new required me to present it to them by playing it, then dragging them slowly through, mostly by rote. After the lesson, I’d send them on their way with strict instructions to put in some practice time and come back more prepared. Yeah, right. The only thing accomplished during those private one-to-one lessons was reinforcement that showing up unprepared was going to be rewarded. It’s no wonder most students got bored, stuck at beginner levels, and parents frustrated that there was no practice going on at home.
As a parent, you may have been told that private lessons offer more personal attention and therefore a higher-quality session and better connection with the student. As I mentioned above – they sure will! But, it’s that personal attention that sets your child up for failure, by creating dependency and underdeveloped sightreading skills, really poor practice habits, and will eventually lead to musical failure.
Did you take lessons as a child? How long did you stick with it?
When it comes to nurturing a love for music in your child's life, the fears and uncertainties of parents are understandable. We've all heard the stories of children starting piano lessons only to end up frustrated or quitting altogether. And, many times, parents tell us that they personally had unpleasant lesson experiences. We understand these concerns and have developed an innovative and unique approach to piano lessons that not only dispels these worries but also paves the way for long-term musical success.
Independent Learning and Progress:
Our lessons at The Music Studio are designed to empower your child by allowing them to make unlimited individual progress within a small group setting. We believe in fostering independent learning from day one. One of our key features is that students start sight-reading music as soon as they sit down for their first lesson. This approach gives them a solid musical foundation, and builds confidence in their own capabilities.
Mastery Through Practice:
We understand that frustration arises when students struggle with new pieces at home. At The Music Studio, our approach is to address these difficulties during the lesson, so students are never sent home with brand new music that they have to learn on their own. The challenging parts of new songs are conquered before the lesson ends. This way, there is no struggle at home, and parents won't find themselves in the position of having to re-teach assignments. In addition, our students learn to find the answers within their music, which is exactly the intention of the composer!
Let’s Recap The Downside of Private Lessons:
To set students up for success and unlimited progress, it's essential to address the limitations of private lessons. Private lessons inevitably create a dependency on the teacher, as a significant portion of lesson time must be spent on instruction, theory, or the teacher playing. At The Music Studio, our students spend the entire lesson playing, not the teacher. This unique (almost reverse) approach allows us to cover a wide range of music and move through lesson books at double the rate seen in traditional private lessons.
Growing Future Musicians:
Our current teaching approach, backed by decades of experience, has consistently yielded remarkable results. Our students have not only won awards and scholarships but have also become integral members of school ensembles, and some have embarked on successful careers in music. It's a source of immense pride that three of our students have graced the stage at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. These achievements serve as a testament to the efficacy of our teaching method. Even for those who choose different life paths, our instruction equips them to enjoy music throughout their lives and pass down this cherished tradition to the next generation.
At The Music Studio, our mission is to empower students through strong reading skills, and to simultaneously take the worry out of piano lessons for parents. We've crafted an approach that encourages students to become not just musicians, but lifelong lovers of music, able to wisely choose what they listen to and play. Our small group lessons, focused on independent learning and ample playing time, have consistently proven more effective than traditional private lessons. So, when parents seek the best musical education for their children, trust the experience and success we've garnered in over 35 years of teaching. Join us on a journey of musical discovery that will shape your child's future and their love for music.
Would you like to see for yourself how our lessons work? We'd love to have you visit our studio, meet, and sample a lesson free of charge. Click here for more information on our remarkable program, or schedule your tryout lesson today!
Your teachers here at The Music Studio want to share their insight on our Music Lessons and provide the tips and tricks needed for a successful music education!