If you’re not practicing, they’re all expensive! OR I could say, It’s the lessons you never take.
Playing an instrument is a commitment of time and money. If you’re not practicing correctly, it can be frustrating for everyone involved. Learning an instrument is more than learning a lot of pieces. There’s theory, technique and all the little details to making you sound great as well as teaching you how to eventually recognize and figure things out on your own! This only happens with practice and study with a well trained and educated instructor. It is possible to study with the hobbyist at first, but when you transfer to the expert you may feel as if you’re starting all over.
Weekly lessons should be a priority when learning an instrument. Skipping lessons, well you’re just going to be left behind. Not practicing? It’s a waste. I’ve been told “your standards are too high”. Okay….I guess they are high, but NOT too high. It’s where they need to be to make progress. It’s tenacity that wins.
I feel so fortunate and thankful that I get to teach one-on-one with students. How often does a teacher get to do this? Lessons are individually aligned with students abilities and varies with each one, at the same time there’s a musical foundation that each student must learn. A great musical foundation learned on piano transfers to other instruments. Reading notes is the same, counting, phrasing and listening is the same. You may chose an instrument that requires different technique in fingering, position or use of your breath, mouth as well as transposing to other keys.
Here’s the big mystery about practicing – please, please, please just find the time to do it! Carefully created practice plans are laid out by your teachers. Use them as they suggest, and I guarantee you’ll improve with time!
My very first teacher, Eliza McCabe, (I was 4 years old) told me that if I didn’t practice, she didn’t want to teach me. I tried not practicing for 2 weeks and she calmly closed my books, handed them to me and sent me home. I received a warning after the first week, then she followed through on her words. Even at that age I got it! I was so sad and disappointed in myself that I practiced after that! My parents didn’t even have to tell me, and if I needed a reminder it was gentle. I wish I could have studied with her longer! She retired and lead a very full life teaching music and piano. An exceptional mentor, even though I didn’t realize that at the time! A Leader across the board in her time! I’m so lucky!
Here’s an excerpt from a study project about her:
Excerpt from the ‘Black Women Oral History Project’ 1977
Eliza McCabe (1886-1985)