The other day as a student was leaving my studio her Mom asked her if we had worked on the part of her piece where she had been having trouble. “Oh yeah,” she said to me, “My violin keeps squeaking when I change my bow over to the e-string.” This made me think about how we tend to avoid anything we find hard and how much that does not serve us as we are trying to learn. Here are some ideas for how to make the most of your lessons:
- Warm up before your lesson. Often students arrive without having played violin earlier that day, so during the first 5-10 minutes you are not getting the most out of your lesson, but are simply warming up.
- Practice as soon as you can after your lesson, ideally on the same day, but at the latest, the next day. Sometimes after a lesson it is tempting to relax and not practice right away, but later in the week when you do practice, you won’t necessarily remember what you were supposed to be doing.
- Take notes during your lesson. When I was a child my teacher would write notes about what I was supposed to work on, and when I was older, I would write my own notes. With notes you can refer to them during the week to make sure that you are on the right track.
- If you are having a problem with something, mention it to your teacher so you can work on it. I know that it is tempting to hope that your teacher won’t ask you to play the things that you can’t do. I know that I am guilty of this one for sure! I can’t count how many times my students have said to me “I was hoping that you wouldn’t asked me to play that!” It is human nature, but not the best use of your time, and you are really just holding yourself back.
I hope these tips are helpful! Go out and make the most of your lessons!