. Private Lessons...Are they really THAT important?
In a word…YES!!! Private teachers are now the lifeblood of what we do. Since sectionals are no longer part of the high school instrumental music program, I cannot begin to stress the importance of private lessons. I have always suggested that students get private lessons, but with this recent change, I am now going to stress it more.
- In a private lesson setting, students can get individualized instruction by a specialist. For example, the value of having a flute player studying flute privately with a flutist is incalculable. That teacher will be able to give the student exercises and studies that will be catered to the student’s particular needs. I have tried to do that kind of thing in sectionals over the years and have been reasonably successful, but it is not as good as the one-on-one teaching that a private teacher can do.
- Private teachers can help students prepare audition materials for higher level ensembles like district band. They can also help the students prepare the repertoire once they have made ensembles like county and district band. I used to be able to do that in smaller sectional groups, but that is no longer an option.
- Preparation for college auditions is another thing that private teachers can help students do. Specialists are well-versed in repertoire that colleges look for and can help students prepare for those auditions.
I have a list of local private teachers on my website. We are fortunate to be surrounded by several local colleges and universities who may be able to help either through their professors or through students who are learning to become performers and teachers. Many times, those students will have lower rates making private lessons more affordable. The downside is that there could be more turnover in teachers if you go that route.
I will still be available to listen to students after school as they get close to district band auditions to help them prepare for those experiences, but I really do encourage them to take private lessons when preparing for those ensembles.The Arts Build CommunityElizabethtown Area High School
Department of Music